*TSX falls 85.86 points, or 0.73 percent, to 11,600.46
*Eight of 10 index sectors weaker; energy weighs
*Gold miners support index
TORONTO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index fell on Friday morning, on course for its fifth straight monthly decline and second straight quarterly drop, as global growth fears intensified following a raft of disappointing economic data.
Activity in China’s factory sector fell for a third consecutive month in September, suggesting that the world’s second-largest economy is not immune to global headwinds. [ID:nL3E7KU097] The figures added to fears about slowing global demand and pressured commodity prices, which weighed on the resource-heavy TSX index.
“China’s not going to grow at 10 percent forever,” said Levente Mady, market strategist at Union Securities in Vancouver. “All you have to do is look at the chart on the Chinese market and you’ll see that that adjustment has been happening on an ongoing basis for a number of months now.”
Brent crude futures extended losses to more than $2 a barrel, and copper, which looked on track for its worst monthly loss in three years, fell further. [O/R] [MET/L]
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was the heaviest decliner on the TSX, falling 2.7 percent to C$39.69. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) lost 2.2 percent to C$27.11, and Teck Resources TCKb.TO lost 2.2 percent to C$30.05.
At 10:16 a.m. (1416 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 85.86 points, or 0.73 percent, at 11,600.46, with eight of the 10 main sectors lower. Earlier the index fell more than 1 percent to a low of 11,535.22.
Weak U.S. data further dampened sentiment. U.S. incomes fell for the first time in nearly two years in August and restrained consumer spending, the figures showed. [ID:nS1E78T0A4]
Meanwhile, lack of a visible solution to the euro zone’s deepening debt woes continued to weigh as the boost generated by Germany’s parliamentary approval on Thursday for new powers to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) proved fleeting.
“We’re going to continue to struggle,” Mady said. “The problems that we’re having worldwide, now with China slowing, and Europe continues to be a basket case... we’re going to have ongoing problems and I think it’s going to be advisable to be defensive.”
The TSX index’s financial sector sank 1 percent, giving up most of the previous session’s gains. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) fell 0.8 percent to C$48.03, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) lost 0.8 percent to C$74.39.
Gold miners helped to curb losses, however, lifting the index’s materials sector into positive territory as the price bullion rose. The metal was still on track for its biggest quarterly gain this year even though it looked set to end September with a loss of more than 10 percent, its worst monthly performance since October 2008. [GOL/]
Goldcorp (G.TO) was the index’s top gainer, rising 3 percent to $47.66., followed by Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), up 2 percent at $48.95.
($1=$1.04 Canadian) (Reporting by Trish Nixon; editing by Peter Galloway)