* TSX ends down 259.82 points, or 2.23 pct, at 11,405.95
* Slides as far as 11,381.41, lowest level since Feb. 12
* All of composite’s 10 main sectors end lower
* Retreat matches equity selloffs around the world (Adds details, quotes)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, May 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended sharply lower on Thursday, with commodity issues leading the slide on concerns that austerity policies for weak euro zone countries could hurt European and world growth.
The TSX fell as far as 11,381.41, its lowest intraday level in nearly 14 weeks, driven by investor fears over the impact of fiscal tightening on the global recovery. [MKTS/GLOB]
At its lowest level on Thursday, Toronto’s index was down 7.6 percent from its late April peak this year.
The slide was similar to stock selloffs around the world, with the S&P500 now down more than 10 percent from its April high, marking the most significant break in its rally from March 2009’s 12-year low. [.N]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day down 259.82 points, or 2.23 percent, at 11,405.95, its sixth straight lower close.
All 10 of the index’s main groups were lower. The heaviest weighted financials, energy, and materials sectors saw losses of more than 2 percent.
Key decliners included Suncor Energy (SU.TO), which dropped 2.3 percent to C$30.45, and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), which fell 1.3 percent to C$40.05. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 1.5 percent to C$34.27.
“The commodities are weak and selling has been right across the board, right from the get go,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.
The commodity-influenced Canadian dollar was also part of a general exit from riskier assets in recent sessions, tumbling more than 2.5 U.S. cents on Thursday. [CAD/]
Data that showed an unexpected jump in weekly U.S. jobless claims added to concerns about economic growth. [ID:nN20125298]
“That jobless claims number was not a huge miss, it wasn’t a world shaking event,” said Levente Mady, market strategist at Union Securities, in Vancouver.
“When the markets are nervous they’re going to use any little excuse -- and that’s all that jobless claims number is -- is a little excuse to beat the markets up, and that’s what happened.”
In individual company news, Teck Resources TCKb.TO said on Thursday it will proceed with an expansion of its Red Dog zinc mine in Alaska, avoiding a lengthy shutdown that would have cut global zinc production by more than 5 percent for over a year. [ID:nN20123124] Teck shares fell 2.2 percent to C$31.96.
Potash Corp (POT.TO), the world’s largest fertilizer maker, fell 1 percent to C$103.61. It said it is confident that the price of potash will begin a steady rise, as the demand-supply balance tightens over the next few months. [ID:nN19201846]
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 15 points lower, or 2.18 percent, at 674.18.
$1=$1.07 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson