July 8, 2009 / 9:40 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX drops 1.9 pct, down for 3rd day

* TSX falls 1.94 percent to 9,653.45

* Third triple-digit decline in three days

* Eight of 10 top movers were in golds, financials (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, July 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Wednesday for a third straight session as lower commodity prices shook the resource-heavy market, while financials again dropped on doubts about global economic recovery.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE booked its third triple-digit decline in a row as hopes for a quick way out of recession faded fast. At one point, the index had shed more than 3 percent, hitting its lowest level in nine weeks.

“I think this is just a day where we’re seeing another swing as investors get more concerned about how fast growth will be and, as a result, how strong the rebound will be,” said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

“The recent indicators have been negative and there’s nothing positive to offset it. As a result, people are just feeling a bit more cautious,” Warne said.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 190.90 points, or 1.94 percent, at 9,653.45. Nine of the 10 main TSX sectors were lower. The TSX has lost more than 6 percent this week.

The mining-laden materials sector led the retreat with a drop of 3.94 percent as the price of gold sagged towards $900 an ounce, off more than 2 percent, as the U.S. dollar strengthened. [ID:nL891648] A stronger U.S. dollar makes the precious metal more expensive for holders of other currencies.

The price of oil, a key driver for the energy-heavy TSX, sank to just above $60 a barrel. The TSX index’s energy group shed 1.9 percent.

“Commodity prices will probably be the continued driving factor in the market for now,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

Eight of the top 10 stocks driving the index lower were in the golds and financials groups. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was down 4.2 percent at C$36.63, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO)fell 2.8 percent to C$40.23.

Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) bucked the trend, rising 0.89 percent to C$19.21 as it said it plans to keep building capital to shield it from volatile markets, and could use the reserves for expansion or acquisitions down the road. [ID:nN08396843]

The consumer staples sector was the only group to gain on the day, rising 0.52 percent.

Canadian jobs figures for June are scheduled to be released on Friday and will be the next big test to measure the nascent economic recovery.

The economy likely lost jobs at a dizzying pace last month, pushing the unemployment rate to an 11-year high, analysts said. [ID:nN08393089]

Investors took little comfort from an International Monetary Fund report that said the global economy was showing signs of improving, though the news did receive some credit earlier in the session for helping the TSX briefly erase an early skid. [ID:nN08376464]

($1=$1.17 Canadian)

Additional reporting by Nina Lex Editing by Peter Galloway

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