November 23, 2010 / 3:46 PM / 8 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX slumps on worries over Korea, Ireland

* TSX slides 0.71 percent to 12,836.82

* All 10 main sectors lower

* Golds among few advancers (Adds details)

TORONTO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell hard on Tuesday as commodity-related issues were sent lower on investor anxiety over an exchange of artillery fire on the Korean peninsula and worries that Ireland’s debt woes could spread to other European countries.

North American stocks picked up where overseas equities left off, with energy among the hardest-hit groups. The commodity benchmark Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB off about 1 percent. Oil and gas were down 1.4 percent. [O/R]

Key decliners included Suncor Energy (SU.TO), off 2 percent at C$34.19, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), down 1.8 percent at C$39.25. Talisman Energy TLM.TO fell 1.8 percent to C419.60.

At 10:20 a.m. (1520 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 92.17 points, or 0.71 percent, at 12,836.82. All 10 of the TSX’s main sectors were lower.

Investor sentiment was rattled as North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island in one of the heaviest attacks on its neighbour since the Korean War ended in 1953. [ID:nL3E6MN0MA]

The incident hit global financial markets that were already shaken by worries that a rescue package for Ireland might not stop problems from spreading to other indebted euro zone countries. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Markets are anticipating that (Korean tensions) may develop into a more serious problem ... This might force western powers to engage militarily. The markets don’t like that because there’s plenty of fires to put out around the world,” said Aaron Fennell, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock Canada.

“The reaction from the markets is a classic risk-off trade where the U.S. dollar is climbing as traders move out of risky assets and into U.S. cash, with the exception of gold and silver.”

Gold-mininers were among the few issues on the rise as the price of the precious metal rose. That helped limit the fall of 0.4 percent in the material group, which came under pressure from weak base metal prices such as copper. [GOL/] MET/L]

Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO fell hard, dropping 3.1 percent to C$49.35, while Agrium Inc AGU.TO was off 1.44 percent at C$81.35.

But advancers included Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), up 0.9 percent to C$51.55, while Kinross Gold (K.TO) rose 0.6 percent to C$18.54. Goldcorp (G.TO) and Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO) were each up about 0.2 percent.

$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson

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