* Lower oil and gold prices pull down Toronto index
* Index hits lowest level since Dec 31 (Adds details)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index tumbled to its lowest level since Dec 31 on Monday as lower prices for key Canadian commodities such as oil and gold pulled down the resource heavy index.
Nagging concerns that a global slowdown will crimp prices for oil shook the energy sector, while the materials group buckled as prices for gold and other precious metals slid.
“It’s still early in week and there are no economic reports left today so I have a feeling that the big story today will be oil and commodities,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The materials group, home to gold mining shares, suffered the biggest drop, down 3.6 percent, while the energy sector followed closely with a 3.4 percent skid. Nine of the TSX’s 10 sectors were down.
At 10:05 a.m. (1505 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 193.70 points, or 2.13 percent, at 8,891.48. Earlier, it had fallen as low as 8,845.77.
Oil prices were down more than $2 to below $39 a barrel due to growing evidence that recession is reducing global energy consumption. The price of oil has shed more than $100 from a record peak of above $147 a barrel last July.
Gold prices were 3.5 percent lower as the U.S. dollar rallied against the euro on expectations for an interest rate cut in the euro zone later this week.
$1=$1.20 Canadian Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway