CANADA STOCKS-TSX down sharply on euro zone debt fears

* TSX down 261.70 points, or 2.3 pct, at 11,128.76

* Oil, gold slide as greenback soars

* Materials leads way lower, down 5.1 pct
(Updates to close, adds details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Feb 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Toronto’s main stock index
notched its steepest percentage drop since early October on
Thursday as investor confidence was shaken by intensifying
concerns about sovereign debt in some euro zone countries.

Investors flocked to the safety of U.S. Treasury bonds and
the greenback, which also took flight on lackluster U.S. jobs
data. [FRX/] The strength in the greenback weighed heavily on
the price of oil, which plunged 5 percent to $73.14 a barrel,
as well as on the price of gold, which hit a three-month low of
$1,060.50 an ounce. [GOL/][O/R]

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: ) topped the list of influential names
on the downside, sliding 4.2 percent to C$36.45, while Suncor
Energy (SU.TO: ) dropped 3 percent to C$31.71. Potash Corp of
Saskatchewan (POT.TO: ) sank 5 percent to C$109.15.

“It’s an aversion to risk and that’s caused the U.S. dollar
to go up and, of course, on days like this you track the U.S.
dollar and U.S. treasuries. All the other things fall off.”
said Paul Gardner, partner & portfolio manager at Avenue
Investment Management.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
(.GSPTSE: ) tumbled 261.70 points, or 2.3 percent, to 11,128.76,
with eight of the index’s 10 main groups lower. Materials led
the slide with a 5.1 percent drop.

The Toronto index’s drop mirrored selloffs in international
markets from New York to London, with sentiment beaten down in
part on Greece’s fiscal troubles.

Those worries have raised questions about the
sustainability of public finances in other euro zone countries,
such as Spain and Portugal, after the global recession sparked
surges in public debt and budget deficits. [ID:nEUROPEAND]

Stock Research

($1=$1.07 Canadian)
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX down sharply on euro zone debt fears