* TSX falls 136.96 pts, or 1.1 percent, to 12,115.10
* Greek debt turmoil, China data drag
* Financial, energy sectors fall
* Gold stock rally lifts materials sector
* U.S. economic data shows decent growth (Adds details, analyst’s comments)
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index dropped more than 1 percent on Tuesday on Greece’s surprise move to hold a referendum on the euro-zone bailout package, but a late rally in gold stocks helped trim the market’s losses.
Global stocks took a beating on fears a Greek vote against the rescue package could result in a disorderly default on the country’s debt and hamper efforts to stop the euro zone’s debt woes from spiraling into a global crisis.
“We’re back to the uncertainty of where we are and where we’re going, and when you have that the markets are going to vote with their feet,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice president and director at Canaccord Wealth Management in Toronto.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 136.96 points, or 1.1 percent, at 12,115.10. The index at one point touched 11,913.72, its lowest point in nearly two weeks.
Commodities fell their most in a month as investors sold everything from oil to copper and corn and turned to the relatively safety of the U.S. dollar. [ID:nL4E7M12D3]
Seven of the Toronto index’s 10 main sectors were negative, led lower by financial and energy stocks, which both dropped more than 2 percent.
Among financial shares, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) led the sector’s 2.7 percent drop, falling 3.2 percent to C$47.04. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) fell 2.8 percent to C$51.07, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was down 3.1 percent at C$72.88.
While Canadian banks have little or no direct exposure to Greece, their profits would be hit hard by a larger global crisis.
The energy sector dimmed 2.1 percent as oil prices again slipped in the face of a stronger U.S. dollar. [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO), slid 2.6 percent at C$30.92, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), down 3.2 percent at C$34.05, were two of the biggest drags.
Base metals mining shares fell more than 3 percent, led lower by diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which fell 4.7 percent at C$38.09.
Canadian gold stocks jumped 2.3 percent, led by miners Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), which rose 2.2 percent to C$50.30 and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO), up 3 percent to C$49.95.
Jeff Bradacs, a portfolio manager with Manulife Asset Management, noted the Canadian market’s late rebound from session lows was “being driven by golds and defensive sectors.”
“When you look at other markets overseas and in the U.S. they’re still concerned with Greece,” he added.
Consumer staple stocks, a traditional safe-have play, closed up 0.24 percent.
Investor optimism was also undermined by new data that showed an unexpected slowdown in Chinese and U.S. manufacturing, as well as Monday’s news of the bankruptcy of U.S. futures broker MF Global MF.N, following bad bets on euro zone debt. [MKTS/GLOB]
The U.S. data was not all negative, as an Institute for Supply Management report showed factory activity had dipped but stayed above the crucial 50-point mark and was accompanied by a rise in new orders and a drop in prices. [ID:nN1E79U0NV]
“The U.S. economy appears to not be roaring ahead, but continues slow growth,” said Bradacs. “It’s still stronger than people expected a month ago.”
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)