CANADA STOCKS-Potash Corp plunge sends TSX to near 2-week low

Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:28am EDT

* TSX falls 62.98 points, or 0.50 percent, to 12,606.06
    * Six of 10 main sectors advance
    * Potash loses a fifth of its market value
    * Gold miners drop on weaker bullion price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, July 30 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slid
on Tuesday to its lowest in nearly two weeks after the breakup
of a Russian-Belarusian potash joint venture sent Potash Corp
 shares tumbling on fears of a drop in the price of the
fertilizer ingredient.
    Russia's Uralkali  dismantled the world's
largest potash cartel in a move that it expects to slash prices
by 25 percent, heralding a reshaped industry and pummeling
shares of rival producers. 
    Potash, one of the world's largest fertilizer makers, lost
more than a fifth of its market value, dropping 20 percent to
C$30.99. With more than 12 million shares changing hands, it was
by far the most active listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
    "You just have to look at the stock price" to see the impact
of the Russian company's strategic shift on the industry, said
John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
    Agrium Inc, another member of the North American
Canpotex potash marketing joint venture, stumbled 5.3 percent to
C$88.88.  
    Investors also braced themselves for a policy statement from
the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the all-important U.S.
jobs report later this week. 
    Ing said he does not expect a dramatic shift in policy by
the U.S. central bank.
    "The Fed's been in backtracking mode, so it will be more of
the same," he said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 62.98 points, or 0.50 percent, at 12,606.06,
after reaching 12,555.82, its lowest since July 17. Six of the
10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    The materials sector index, which includes Potash Corp and
other miners, dropped 5.2 percent.
    Gold miners' shares declined as the price of bullion fell,
with investors nervous about possible monetary policy moves by
the U.S. Federal Reserve. 
    Goldcorp Inc lost almost 2 percent to C$28.83, and
Barrick Gold Corp fell 2.2 percent C$17.69.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were
down 0.4 percent.
    Toronto Dominion Bank declined 1.2 percent to
C$87.86, and Royal Bank of Canada slipped 0.5 percent to
C$64.92.
    TD Bank's stock fell after the company warned it expects to
report a third-quarter loss in its insurance business due to
floods in Alberta and storms in the greater Toronto area,
joining a list of Canadian companies hurt by bad weather.
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