February 20, 2009 / 3:45 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2009 low on bank worry, oil price

* TSX hits 2009 low but pares losses by midmorning

* Fears of U.S. bank nationalization hurt financials

* Barrick posts loss, stock falls despite gold price rise (Adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell on Friday morning, hitting a 2009 low, as the weighty energy group dropped on falling oil prices and financial shares were hit by worries the U.S. government’s bank rescue plan might involve nationalization.

The Toronto market’s fall was part of a global wave as fears of further economic deterioration hit equities around the world. [MKTS/GLOB]

“The market is making new lows on the weak financial sector,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.

“The big nationalization fear is basically what it all comes down to: the ultimate fear of having no equity left at the ordinary shareholder level.”

At 10:40 a.m. (1540 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 140.30 points, or 1.71 percent, at 8,045.05. Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were lower. At one point, the index fell below the 8,000 mark, its lowest level since Dec. 5.

Weakness in oil prices, which were at about $38 a barrel, hit the energy sector.

Materials turned lower after being the lone sector to advance gains at the start of the day. But gains in gold miners, due to a surge in the bullion price, cushioned the sector’s fall.

Most gold miners posted gains as the price of the precious metal rose above $1,000 an ounce, its highest point since mid-July.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) lagged its peers, falling 1.2 percent to C$45.35, after reporting a fourth-quarter loss from a noncash charge, mostly related to goodwill writedowns at four assets. [ID:nN20172798] (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)

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