April 20, 2009 / 8:49 PM / in 9 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX tumbles on weak oils, U.S. bank fears

* TSX tumbles 3.3 percent to 9,126.15

* New U.S. bank worries spook financials

* Oil gives up more than 8 percent

* Materials group the lone gainer (Adds official numbers, comments, details)

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO, April 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index tumbled more than 3 percent on Monday as investors fled the market amid a sharp drop in the price of oil and new concerns over the vitality of U.S. banks.

Nine of the TSX’s 10 sectors fell, including the heavily weighted energy and financials groups, which dropped 6.5 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

The resource-rich materials group was the sole winner, adding 2.7 percent on the day as investors sought out gold, which is considered a defensive investment.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE fell 311.50 points, or 3.3 percent, to close at 9,126.15.

Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities, said it should be remembered that the day’s drop, albeit sharp, comes after six straight weeks of gains for the Toronto benchmark index. The index has a year low of 7,479.96 set in early March.

“Most people I talk to are still in a fairly positive frame of mind,” he said, adding that before Monday, “the market has had a good bounce off its bottom without any significant pullback.”

However, new concerns began to swirl around the health of U.S. banks on Monday after Bank of America Corp BAC.N reported a surge in troubled loans, which overshadowed its better than expected earnings.

Bank of America shares plunged, taking with them much of the financial services sector both in Canada and the United States.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO fell 6.3 percent to finish at C$50.52. Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO fell 5.4 percent to C$47. National Bank of Canada NA.TO tumbled 5.8 percent to C$43.75.

Energy issues also retreated, driven lower by a more than 8 percent drop in the price of oil. EnCana ECA.TO gave up 5.1 percent to C$52.58 and Suncor Energy SU.TO dropped 7.7 percent to C$28.90.

“It’s really a very ugly day,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

Investors appeared eager to buttress their defensive positions, however, driving up gold stocks such as Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO. The company was the day’s biggest net gainer, jumping 10.6 percent to finish at C$58.59.

Barrick Gold ABX.TO rose 8.4 percent to C$36.16.

$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson

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