TSX Plummets Amid China Growth Concerns - Canadian Commentary

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(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks plummeted to end sharply lower Friday, tracking declining global equity markets, fueled by concerns over the weakness seen in emerging markets after some weak data from China showing its factory sector contracting for the first time in over six months. Almost all major sectors were in the red, led notably by financial and resource stocks.

The Composite Index shed 1.44 percent for the week.

Meanwhile, data out of Canada revealed that inflation ticked up in December, albeit falling short of Bank of Canada's target.

Asian stocks settled broadly lower with growing concerns over the sluggishness shown by China, with a mixed bag of corporate earnings eroding investor's appetite for risk. Most European markets also ended in negative territory following weak cues from Asia.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Friday at 13,717.76, down 215.21 points or 1.54 percent. The index scaled an intraday high of 13,932.97 and a low of 13,698.31.

The Global Gold Index dropped 0.71 percent, with gold futures for February delivery, the most actively traded contract, edging up $2.00 or 0.2 percent to close at $1,264.30 an ounce Friday on the Nymex.

Among gold stocks, Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) shed 0.34 percent, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) slipped 1.77 percent. Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) declined 1.03 percent, while Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) gave up 1.72 percent.

The Capped Materials Index shed 1.92 percent, with fertilizer giant Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) slipping 3.72 percent and Agrium, Inc. (AGU.TO) down 2.39 percent.

U.S. crude oil ended lower as investors mulled over the Energy Information Administration's weekly report that showed a better than expected rise in crude and gasoline stockpiles in the U.S.

The Energy Index dropped 1.38 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for March delivery, the most actively traded contract, shedding $0.68 or 0.7 percent to close at $96.64 a barrel Friday on the Nymex.

Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) dropped 1.96 percent, while Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) dropped 2.35 percent. Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) slipped 2.94 percent, while Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) shed 1.13 percent.

The Information Technology Index gained 0.47 percent, although smartphone maker BlackBerry Limited (BB.TO) plunged 5.61percent after.

The Diversified Metals & Mining Index surrendered 1.98 percent, with Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) down 1.99 percent and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) down 2.12 percent. Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) dropped 2.40 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index dived 1.61 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) down 1.30 percent and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) shedding 0.99 percent. The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) surrendered 1.81 percent, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) slipped 0.72 percent. Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) plunged 4.31 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index shed 2.55 percent with Bombardier Inc. (BBD.A.TO, BBD.B.TO) down 1.53percent and Air Canada (AC.B.TO) declining 3.25 percent.

Business software provider OpenText Corp. (OTC.TO) surging 10.79 percent after reporting a second quarter profit of $53.50 million or $0.90 per share down from a year ago. Nonetheless, earnings on an adjusted basis came in at $1.58 per share, ahead of analysts expectations of $1.50 per share for the quarter. OpenText board also approved a two-for-one stock split of its outstanding common shares.

In economic news, Statistics Canada said the Consumer Price Index rose 1.2 percent year-over-year in December, following a 0.9 percent increase in November. Economist expected inflation to come in at 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada's core index rose 1.3 percent in the 12 months to December, after increasing 1.1 percent in November.

Elsewhere, U.K. mortgage approvals increased less than expected in December, figures released by the British Bankers' Association said. The number of mortgages approved for house purchases rose to 46,521 from 45,394 in November. The figure was less than an expected 47,300.

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This article appears in: News Headlines

Referenced Stocks: ABX , AGU , BMO , BNS , CNQ

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