December 1, 2011 / 1:38 PM / in 6 years

TSX falls as weak global data hits banks, miners

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks fell on Thursday following three days of gains, as banks and resource issues turned lower on weak global manufacturing data and fears that Europe’s debt problems would persist.

Despite better-than-expected earnings from two of Canada’s largest banks, financial stocks fell more than 1 percent after soft Asian and European manufacturing data renewed fears of a global economic slowdown.

Toronto-Dominion Bank dropped 2.2 percent to C$71.90 to lead the financial sector and the broader market lower. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce fell 1.3 percent to C$72. The shares of the two banks fell even though both reported that their quarterly profits rose more than 50 percent.

“Considering we had such a massive run-up in stocks yesterday, it is fairly comforting to see equity markets holding on to the bulk of the gains,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed down 90.82 points, or 0.74 percent, at 12,113.29.

On Wednesday, the index had its biggest single-day gain since March 2009, spiking more than 4 percent.

“You always run into some kind of profit-taking after three days (of gains) and especially the great day we had yesterday,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd. “It will be interesting in a new month to see if this late-November rally continues.”

After jumping nearly 6 percent the previous session, the heavily weighted materials sector fell 0.8 percent, hurt by declines in both gold and base metal miners.

Copper shed more than 1 percent, pressured by poor Chinese manufacturing data, while gold fell in light trade, snapping a three-day rally.

Barrick Gold fell 1 percent to C$53.49. First Quantum Minerals ended down 3.1 percent at C$19.96.

In other earnings news, shares of clothing maker Gildan Activewear Inc plunged more than 32 percent after it said fourth-quarter profit fell and forecast a first-quarter loss on higher inventories and discounts.

Lululemon Athletica Inc’ s shares dropped nearly 6 after the retailer announced its quarterly profit rose but sales of its signature yoga wear missed analyst expectations.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

Additional reporting by Jon Cook and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Peter Galloway

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