CANADA STOCKS-European fears drive TSX to 23-month low

Tue Oct 4, 2011 11:08am EDT

 * TSX hits November 2009 low
 * All 10 index sectors down sharply
 * Index down 24 percent since 2011 highs
 (Updates with details, comments)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market
index plunged to a 23-month low on Tuesday morning, pushing
deeper into bear-market territory as fears over Europe's debt
crisis and the possibility of a global recession sparked
another selloff.
 The TSX is down 19 percent since the start of the year and
24 percent from the 2011 high it reached in March. After a
steep drop on Monday, all 10 index sectors were again sharply
lower on Tuesday. Energy shares slid 3.5 percent, materials
dropped 3.2 percent, and financials shed 2.5 percent.
 "Maybe there's another 5 or 10 percent on the downside,"
said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy,
noting the fall is likely to come in the next few weeks as the
prospect of a near-term default by Greece becomes more imminent
and anxiety over the possibility a major banking crisis in
Europe intensifies. [MKTS/GLOB]
 At 10:44 a.m. (1444 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 285.01 points, or
2.53 percent, at 10,966.83. Earlier, it dropped more than 3
percent to 10,848.19, its weakest level since November 2009.
 Among the heaviest decliners were financial stocks, which
traded in sympathy with battered European banks as Dexia
(DEXI.BR) shares sank as much as 38 percent on top of their 10
percent fall on Monday due to worries about the Franco-Belgian
bank's heavy exposure to Greece. [ID:nL5E7L40WD]
 Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 3 percent to C$45.39,
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was down 3 percent at C$69.56,
and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was off 2.8 percent at
C$49.69.
 "The worse it gets, then the more likely it is that the
(U.S.) authorities are going to accelerate their support
measures," Graham said. He added that this could pave the way
for a third round of monetary easing by the U.S. Federal
Reserve.
 Helping to lift markets from their lows on Tuesday morning,
Bernanke said the Fed is prepared to take further steps to help
a fragile economic recovery held back by a weak job market and
financial stresses in Europe. [ID:nN1E7930IZ]
 "Maybe here comes QE3 because (Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke)
will have political cover to do so if the market continues to
slide."
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)
















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