* TSX down 238.71 points, or 1.93 pct, at 12,148.83
* 9 of 10 main sectors weaker, techs gain on RIM (Adds details, comments)
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell sharply on Monday, almost touching a three-week low on mounting fears that the euro zone’s debt crisis could undermine the global economic recovery.
The TSX finished more than 200 points lower, even as U.S. stock markets staged a late-day rally, as investors cashed out of safe-haven bullion to cover losses elsewhere, hitting Toronto’s gold-mining shares. Oil and copper prices also fell, pressuring the resource-heavy index. [GOL/] [MET/L] [O/R]
“The gold sector used to play a counterweight to the financial firms, and today (both sectors) are going south ... so for the first time in roughly a month we’ve underperformed in a down market,” said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
All three of the index’s most heavily weighted sectors ended lower, with materials leading the fall with a 3.2 percent retreat. Energy stocks fell 2.1 percent, while financials were down 1.8 percent.
The price of gold dropped 2.5 percent, extending losses from last week, when the metal had its sharpest weekly decline since late June. The TSX’s gold-mining subgroup sank 3.2 percent.
Goldcorp, (G.TO) was heaviest drag on the index, down 4.3 percent at C$52.55, while Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) lost 2.8 percent to C$52.87, and Kinross Gold (K.TO) fell 4.9 percent to C$17.00.
Other top decliners were Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), down 2.7 percent at C$46.20, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO), off 3.2 percent at C$28.51.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 238.71 points, or 1.93 percent, at 12,148.83. Earlier in the session it fell as low as 12,041.61, its weakest level since Aug. 26.
Concerns that Moody’s Investors Service might downgrade the credit-worthiness of French banks, which are widely exposed to Greek bonds, and the lack of a solution to Greece’s months-old debt crisis rattled investor confidence. [MKTS/GLOB]
“You might be looking at not only a potential sovereign credit crisis, there could be another banking crisis in Europe,” said Marcus Xu, director of equity investments at Genus Capital Management in Vancouver.
Xu noted that credit default swaps were indicating a 98 percent chance of a Greek debt default in the near term.
”Canada, being very commodity driven, very economically sensitive, could be impacted quite a bit,” he said.
Risk aversion was exacerbated by the failure of the weekend meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized countries to come up with any fresh proposals for boosting global growth. [ID:nN1E78728T]
Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were weaker, but the technology sector was pushed into positive territory by a buoyant Research In Motion RIM.TO.
The BlackBerry maker rose 1.6 percent to C$29.98 after audio technology firm Dolby Laboratories (DLB.N) said it had withdrawn its patent infringement lawsuit against RIM. [ID:nS1E78B0R0]
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Trish Nixon; editing by Peter Galloway)