* TSX drops 0.63 percent to 12,070.73
* U.S. jobless claims rise as labor market struggles
* Nine of index’s 10 sectors fall, healthcare up (Adds details)
TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was lower on Thursday morning as U.S. and European economic data heightened worries about the progress of global economic recovery.
The decline followed similar falls in Europe, where shares dropped for a third straight day to a two-week low on concerns about the state of some European economies and on bearish data. U.S. stocks were hurt by U.S. weekly jobless claims data that showed a job market still under pressure. [.N] [.EU]
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 465,000, against expectations that claims would remain steady, breaking two straight weeks of declines. For details, please see [ID:nN23129887]
“It’s well-baked in the cake that it’s not going to be a robust hiring spree coming out here,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
He attributed some of the day’s early pressure to profit-taking as Toronto’s main index was not far off its highest level since early May. Nakamoto noted also that October, traditionally a weak month for the stock market, was fast approaching.
“It might be hitting part of that seasonal pattern,” he said. “That month is the one that does the worst.”
At 10:20 a.m. (1420 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 76.53 points, or 0.63 percent, at 12,070.73. Nine of the index’s 10 main sectors were lower.
Weighing heavily, Potash Corp POT.TO fell 0.4 percent to C$150.75 after filing a lawsuit against BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) to fend off the miner’s $39 billion hostile takeover bid, intensifying the Canadian fertilizer supplier’s struggle to find a more attractive offer. [ID:nN22227579]
Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) was off 2.3 percent at C$12.50 as the insurer said it is eyeing acquisitions to bulk up its mutual fund business. [ID:nN23133708]
Enbridge Inc ENF_u.TO was off 1.1 percent at C$51.10, even though U.S. regulators approved a gradual restart of an oil pipeline that ruptured more than eight weeks ago, fouling a Michigan river system and squeezing oil supplies for U.S. and Canadian refiners. [ID:nN2213370]
Healthcare was the only sector higher, up 1.3 percent, in part due to a 2.1 percent rise in MDS Nordion MDS.TO to C$10.56. MDS, one of the world’s largest suppliers of medical isotopes, signed a deal with a unit of Russia’s Rosatom State Corp to market isotopes produced in that country, and said the companies could look at forming a joint venture. [ID:nSGE68M0E]
$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway