* TSX falls 131.07 points, or 1.13 percent, to 11,431.44
* Index touches lowest point since July 2010
* Seven of 10 sectors lower; golds, energy weigh
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index hit its lowest level since July, 2010 on Friday, pushing the market into bear territory, as investors sold riskier assets on growing fears of a Greek debt default and global recession.
Concerns about a global economic slowdown battered the commodities complex for a second day, pressuring the resource-heavy Canadian stock index.
The materials group tumbled 3.3 percent as base-metal miners continued to slide and as gold fell to a 6-1/2 week low, setting the stage for its sharpest weekly drop since Dec 2008. [MET/L] [GOL/]
“It’s a U.S. dollar thing ... when people get really really panicked, the U.S. dollar, there is no substitute. Gold to a large extent is the flip-side of the U.S. dollar,” said Brendan Caldwell, chief executive of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd.
“Gold stocks have fallen right out of bed with gold, and that’s what’s really pulling our market.”
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was the heaviest decliner, down 4 percent at C$48.20, while GoldCorp (G.TO) fell 3.9 percent to C$47.20.
At 10:35 a.m (1435 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 131.07 points, or 1.13 percent, at 11,431.44. It touched a session low of 11,355.82, its weakest since July 2010.
The index has fallen more than 6 percent in the last three sessions and is now down more than 20 percent from its 2011 peak, which is generally viewed as the definition of a bear market.
A pledge by G20 leading economies to shore up the financial system failed to alleviate fears of a Greek default and global economic slump.
European banking shares suffered after Deutsche Bank said the region’s banks may take a bigger-than-expected hit from a swap arrangement on Greek government debt. [MKTS/GLOB]
Seven of 10 main groups on the TSX were lower. Energy issues stocks were down 1.2 percent, tracking the price of oil as Brent crude fell to a six-week low near $103 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) fell 2 percent to C$30.28. [O/R]
The financial sector traded flat. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was the index’s most influential advancer, up 0.4 percent to C$45.56, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) rose 0.4 percent to C$50.18.
“If everybody was worried about the world coming to an end our banks would be under pressure today, and they’re up modestly,” said Caldwell. (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)