* TSX down 217.96 points, or 1.76 percent, at 12,162.17
* Sees biggest intraday drop since June, 2009
* Hits lowest level since August 2010
* Nine of 10 main sectors lower
* Global growth fears drive losses
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Toronto stocks plunged for a second straight session on Friday, touching their weakest point since August 2010, as fears of a global recession hammered the resource-heavy market.
While U.S. stocks see-sawed throughout the session, Toronto’s main stock index .GSPTSE at one point fell almost 4 percent, its worst intraday drop in more than two years.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 217.96 points, or 1.76 percent, at 12,162.17, led lower by a 2.46 percent drop in energy stocks.
“It’s the bias of the index,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, citing the impact of falling commodity prices on natural resource stocks.
World stocks fell for an eighth day on Friday in a dizzying descent that has wiped around $2.5 trillion off the value of global equities this week, but hopes the European Central Bank will buy bonds of crisis-hit Italy helped lift markets off the lows of the day. [MKTS/GLOB]
Toronto’s sell-off followed a steep 3.4 percent drop on Thursday, the TSX’s biggest one-day loss in two years as markets worldwide fell prey to fears about slowing economic growth and the euro zone’s debt crisis.
Friday’s intraday fall — at one point more than 3.9 percent to 11,894.7 — was the biggest since June 2009. It marked the lowest level since August 2010.
“You’ve got margin selling taking place as well because a lot of people borrow money to buy stocks, and all these broker/dealers are watching what the situation is,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
After energy, financial stocks, down 1.37 percent and materials shares including miners, off 1.62 percent, played the biggest roles in leading the market lower.
Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was the most influential decliner, down 2.2 percent to C$73.85, followed by Magna International (MG.TO). The auto-parts giant tumbled 11.8 percent to C$38.8 after posting a a drop in second-quarter profit on a weak performance in Europe and cutting its profit margin outlook. [nN1E7740QO]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was the No. 3 decliner. It slid 2.4 percent to C$32.34, taking its lead from volatile U.S. crude futures. [O/R]
Further weighing on the Toronto exchange, shares of Yellow Media Inc continued to slide, falling 12.7 percent to 96 Canadian cents after analysts cut their price targets on the Canadian phone directory publisher, which is struggling to make a transition to digital media. [ID:nN1E7741BI]
Canada’s top engineering company SNC Lavalin Group (SNC.TO) fell 5.28 percent to C$49.32 after reporting a 16 percent drop in quarterly profit on Friday dragged by lower contributions from its infrastructure segments. [ID:nNL3E7J53MM]
Positive North American jobs data did little to curb global growth fears. U.S. job growth accelerated more than expected in July, while the Canadian unemployment rate fell in July to its lowest level since December 2008. [ID:nN1E77404O] [ID:nOAT004847]
Still, some analysts thought the market may be close to reaching a near-term bottom.
“We’re definitely at the point of what we call ‘major oversold’” said Ron Meisels, technical analyst and president of Phases & Cycles.
“12,000 is roughly speaking the level at which the market peaked in the summer of 2010. The top of a major rally very often will provide the support for a subsequent sell-off and therefore 12,000 is a logical place to be looking for support.”
Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were lower, barring the telecoms sector, which was helped by strong results from Telus Corp. The Canadian telecoms company reported a rise in quarterly net profit and increased its revenue forecast for the year. Telus shares were up 0.68 percent to C$51.63. [ID:nN1E7731K2] (With additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)