CANADA STOCKS-Gripped by China fears, TSX skids to 10-month low

Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:32am EDT

* TSX falls 206.63 points, or 1.67 percent, to 11,795.03
    * All main index sectors decline
    * Gold-mining shares drop with bullion price
    * BlackBerry climbs 3.7 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, June 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index dived
to its lowest level in more than 10 months on Monday as worries
about the Chinese economy hit commodity prices and pulled down
shares of gold and energy producers.
    The market, which was roiled last week by the U.S. Federal
Reserve's plans to tighten monetary policy, was on track to
record one of its biggest single-day percentage falls this year.
    Worries about a crisis in the Chinese banking system and the
ability of the country to deal with a slowing economy have
intensified. Those concerns pulled oil prices to
a three-week low and caused the price of bullion to drop almost
1 percent.  
    The Canadian market, with its large exposure to materials
and energy stocks, has been reacting sharply to news out of
China, a major destination for resource exports. 
    "Investors are very nervous about China," said Matt Skipp,
president of SW8 Asset Management. The weakness in commodity
prices suggests "there's a bigger slowdown than people expect in
China".
    Canadian investors in general see no clear direction, he
added. "You're invested in a financial system that's based off
monetary policy, you're watching your yield securities plunge,
and your equity portfolios don't give much comfort."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 206.63 points, or 1.67 percent, at 11,795.03,
after reaching 11,759.04, its lowest level since August 2012. 
    Every major sector on the index was in the red.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave
back 3.5 percent, with gold-mining stocks falling 3.9 percent.
    Barrick Gold Corp fell 5.5 percent to C$16.72. The
miner plans to lay off up to a third of its corporate staff at
its headquarters in Toronto and other offices, sources told
Reuters. 
    Goldcorp Inc stumbled 4.5 percent to C$24.44.
    Energy shares lost 2.5 percent, tracking the price of oil.
Suncor Energy Inc was down 2.5 percent to C$30.03, and
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd dropped 2.9 percent to
C$28.53. Units of Inter Pipeline Fund tumbled 38
percent to C$14.21.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were
down 0.3 percent.
    But smartphone maker BlackBerry, which will report
quarterly earnings later this week, added 3.7 percent to
C$14.89.
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