August 4, 2011 / 6:28 PM / 8 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX sinks 3 pct on growth fears, weakest since Oct

   * TSX down 441.23 points, or 3.44 pct, at 12,374.80
 * Main index hits lowest level since Oct. 5
 * All sectors drop on economic woes, materials lead  (Updates prices, adds further details)
 By Trish Nixon
 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.
 World stocks plunged to new lows for the year on Thursday with a sell-off in markets accelerating sharply as investors fretted about the outlook for the global economy and piled into safe-haven bonds. [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 2:19 p.m. (1819 GMT) the the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 441.23 points, or 3.44 percent, at 12,374.80.
 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 5.4 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 as U.S. crude fell more than $5, stung by a rise in U.S. petroleum inventories and worries about soft demand. [O/R].
 The financial sector was 1.68 percent lower despite healthy earnings reports.
 Insurers Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) and Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO) were both weaker, despite reporting better-than-expected second-quarter profits on Wednesday.
 IGM Financial (IGM.TO), one of Canada’s largest mutual fund companies, was down 1.09 percent at C$47.11 even after reporting a higher quarterly profit thanks to stronger fee revenues and investment income.
 “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.
 Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), down 5.9 percent at C$44.52 was the biggest drag on the index, followed by Suncor Energy (SU.TO) which lost 4.4 percent to trade at C$33.13, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO, off 15 percent to C$42.87.
 Valeant fell even after reporting a 66 percent rise in quarterly profit and raising its earnings forecast. [ID:nN1E773076]
 The index’s biggest percentage decliner was debt-laden Yellow Media Inc YLO.TO. Shares of the telephone directory publisher plunged 46.4 percent to C$1.04 after the company slashed its annual dividend by 77 percent and withdrew its full year outlook. [ID:nL3E7J4381]
 Canada’s two biggest airlines, both of which reported stronger-than-expected results on Thursday, also slid with the broader market. Air Canada ACa.TO lost 3.3 percent to C$2.04, while WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) slid 1.7 percent to C$13.99. [ID:nN1E7730P4]
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)  (With additional reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)                  

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