August 4, 2011 / 4:18 PM / 8 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX off 3.5 pct, weakest since Oct on growth fears

   * TSX down 450.19 points, or 3.51 pct, at 12,365.84
 * Main index hits lowest level since Oct. 5
 * All sectors drop on economic woes, materials lead
 * U.S. stocks also drop about 3 pct  (Recasts, adds analyst comment, further details)
 By Trish Nixon and Jeffrey Hodgson
 TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index plunged more than 3 percent on Thursday to its lowest level in nearly 10 months as a wave of selling slammed world markets, driven by fears about global growth.
 Major U.S. stock indexes also fell about 3 percent after a labor market report there became the latest datapoint to show the U.S. economy has stalled. [.N]
 World stocks had their worst day in a year as worries about a global slowdown intensified and investors piled more money into safe-haven assets like bonds and gold, which hit another record. [MKTS/GLOB]
 “The market’s out of its mind here, and we’re into some form of crazy panic selling,” said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
 “Hopefully, job reports tomorrow will show some stabilization and the market will regain its sanity, because it’s completely lost it.”
 At 11:52 a.m. (1552 GMT) the the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 450.19 points, or 3.51 percent, at 12,365.84.
 All 10 of the TSX’s main groups were lower, led by the heavyweight materials, energy and financial sectors.
 “People are saying: Let’s get out and we’ll keep our money, and buy again down the road when things look even worse and everything is cheaper,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
 Materials stocks, which include heavyweight miners, fell nearly 5 percent as copper prices hit a one-month low. Even a record bullion price failed to support gold miners. [MET/L][GOL/]
 The TSX’s energy group lost 3.8 percent, stung by a rise in U.S. petroleum inventories and worries about soft demand amid the U.S. and European debt crises and a struggling global economy. [O/R].
 The financial sector was 2 percent lower despite healthy earnings reports by some of Canada’s big insurers.
 Fertilizer giant Potash Corp POT.TO, down 5.3 percent at C$52.13, was the biggest drag on the index, followed by Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), down 4 percent at C$33.24.
 A slew of positive earnings did little to stem the losses.
 Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) and Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO) were both weaker, despite reporting better-than-expected second-quarter profits on Wednesday.
 “If you’re looking around for good news, we’ve got earnings out ... but not even a surprise in the upside on earnings is helping. People have got a very very negative view on everything and they are running to the sidelines,” Ketchen said.
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)  (With additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins)                                        

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