November 24, 2011 / 10:30 PM / in 6 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits seven-week low as Europe worries weigh

   * TSX down 86.39 pts, or 0.75 pct, at 11,485.32
 * TSX marks lowest close since Oct. 5
 * Energy, financials lead retreat
 * Meeting of euro zone leaders fails to lift sentiment  (Adds details, analyst comments)
 By Jon Cook
 TORONTO, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell to a seven-week low on Thursday as resource-related issues slid after a meeting of European leaders failed to stem market fears about the euro zone debt crisis.
 Energy and materials were the main drags on the index, each falling nearly 1 percent, as oil and gas producers and gold miners were hit by fears of a slowdown in Europe.
 Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) fell 2.8 percent to C$35.11 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) slumped 1.4 percent to C$49.55 to lead their respective sector’s losses.
 “The simple answer to present market woes continues to be Europe,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice-president of research at Global Securities. “On the TSX, the downside is being led by commodity groups.”
 The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session down 86.39 points, or 0.75 percent, at 11,485.32, its lowest close since Oct. 5.
 With U.S. markets closed for Thanksgiving and the absence of any significant North American earnings news, investors were focused on the outcome of a meeting between the leaders of Germany, France and Italy - the euro zone’s top three economies. [ID:nL5E7MO037]
 Apart from agreeing not to pressure the European Central Bank to do more to rescue the region from its debt woes, the meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti produced little for investors to rally behind.
 “This is the train wreck unfolding in slow motion,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris.
 On Wednesday, a weak German 10-year bond auction pushed the cost of borrowing for Europe’s economic heavyweight above that of the United States for the first time since October, helping send global markets lower. [ID:nL5E7MN1K2]
 Despite having little exposure to European sovereign debt holdings, Canadian financials were also caught in Thursday’s slide, dipping 0.7 percent.
 Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) skidded 1.7 percent to C$55.25 while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) fell 0.9 percent to C$48.35.
 Wednesday’s negative momentum continued in part due to weak trading volumes as many North American bidders took the day off with U.S. markets closed for Thanksgiving.
 “There’s a bit of a buyer’s boycott, particularly with the Americans not in this week,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager of ABC Funds. “I would take the levels of trading and the current changes in the TSX with a grain of salt, just because there’s not a lot of activity.”
 As the U.S. markets open again on Friday, investors will be eyeing early results from Black Friday retail sales south of the border. [ID:nN1E7AN0FR]
 “There will be a lot of people looking at retail sales tomorrow and doing mall checks and trying to get a sense of the pulse of the U.S. consumer,” said Taylor.
 In individual company news, Dundee Precious Metals Inc (DPM.TO) shares jumped 4.8 percent to C$8.89 after the mining company said it received environmental approval from the Bulgarian government for its Krumovgrad gold project. [ID:nL4E7MO1PP]
 ($1=$1.05 Canadian)  (Additional reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)                 

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