* TSX ends down 171.74 points, or 1.3 pct, at 13,084.00
* Hits lowest in more than 6 months, all 10 sectors weaker
* TSX finishes week down 3.2 percent (Adds details, technical levels, commentary)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, June 10 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed sharply lower on Friday after hitting its lowest level in more than six months, as risk aversion swept over markets due to concerns about a global economic slowdown and Europe’s struggle with Greece’s debt crisis.
Commodity prices were hit by a confluence of factors, including a stronger safe-haven U.S. dollar, which weighed heavily on Canada’s resource-driven index.
The energy sector played the biggest role in leading the market lower, falling nearly 2 percent as U.S. crude prices fell sharply on news that Saudi Arabia was offering more oil to Asian customers, with additional pressure from a stronger U.S. dollar. [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO), the most influential decliner, dropped 1.9 percent to C$38.07, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) sank 2.7 percent to C$39.34.
Materials, home to mining stocks, were down 1.5 percent, dragged lower by softer metal prices. Copper fell after disappointing trade data from China, while gold succumbed to the greenback’s rally amid renewed Greek debt fears. [MET/L] [GOL/]
Teck Resources TCKb.TO plunged 4.2 percent to C$45.51, while Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) shed 1.5 percent to C$42.62.
“If you look at silver and gold, they’ve been coming down hard, and this is the area where a lot of investors had put their money, so a lot of stop losses are being triggered,” said Azim Hajee, a senior market strategist at commodity futures brokerage Lind-Waldock Canada.
He said investors were disappointed the market was not able to keep up with Thursday’s gains following a seven-session losing streak.
“Generally what you’re seeing is summer doldrums. People are taking profit and standing on the sidelines, plus they feel that the TSX ... is due for a correction.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite .GSPTSE ended down 171.74 points, or 1.3 percent, at 13,084.00. Earlier, the index fell as low as 13,008.75, its weakest level since Dec. 1.
All 10 of the main sectors were weaker, including financials, down 1 percent. The TSX was down 3.2 percent for the week and has fallen 9 percent since the 2011 high reached in March. It is off almost 3 percent year-to-date.
The index fell back below the 200-day moving average on Friday, a bearish sign for many investors.
Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics, said the next major technical support will be found at the psychological level of 13,000. Beyond that, he expects support around 12,700, which marks a 50 percent retracement of the July to March rally.
Global economic concerns overshadowed data showing solid domestic job growth that initially helped firm the Canadian dollar. [ID:nN10228750]
Investors received mixed messages about the progress of debt assistance to Greece, with Germany sticking to its demand that private investors contribute to a second bailout even after renewed ECB opposition to any investor participation that might be deemed involuntary. [ID:nLDE7590LU] [ID:nLDE7581Z8]
“There is a growing anxiety about the impasse facing Greece and there’s little clarity on how that will resolve itself before the end of June,” said Smith.
“That combined with slower growth at the end of the (U.S. Federal Reserve) stimulus have encouraged reduction in risk.”
Sino-Forest TRE.TO skidded 13 percent to C$4.47 following a two-day rally. Allegations of fraud against the China-focused forestry company have set off a battle royal between analysts who have long supported Sino-Forest and the short-seller whose recent accusations have pummeled its shares. [ID:nN09280131]
Research In Motion RIM.TO fell 2.3 percent to C$35.82 as one the BlackBerry maker’s investors pushed for a shareholder vote on whether Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie should retain shared roles as chairmen of the board and chief executives. [ID:nN10224817]