TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed in correction territory Tuesday as worries about deteriorating global economic conditions helped further erode year-to-date gains.
The S&P/TSX composite index tumbled 190.68 points to an eight-month low of 14,036.68, with the main index down 10 per cent from its record high set in early September and leaving the TSX up just three per cent year to date. The TSX had been up more than 14 per cent in early September.
"I think it's fear myself,'' said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at 3MACS.
"There's enough things to be worried about. Fears over Europe slowing, (the Federal Reserve's) quantitative easing ends at the end of this month, people are talking about U.S. interest rates that could rise sooner than expected, the strong U.S. dollar and Ebola. There are more than enough things to weigh on investor psychology.''
The Canadian dollar got caught up in the volatility, falling 0.7 of a cent to 88.45 cents US _ its lowest level since July 2009 — as traders avoided risky assets such as commodity-based currencies and bought into the U.S. greenback.
New York indexes started off with solid gains after plunging on Monday but markets faded in the final hour and the Dow Jones industrials slipped 5.88 points to 16,315.19 following the previous day's 233-point slide. The Nasdaq climbed 13.51 points to 4,227.17 while the S&P 500 index was ahead 2.96 points to 1,877.7.
The losses added to significant declines on markets over the last month. The sell-off accelerated last week amid a string of disappointing German data and a global economic downgrade by the International Monetary Fund.
New York markets were also at or near record highs at the beginning of the current downturn.
The slide on Wall Street had been widely anticipated since there hasn't been a meaningful correction on U.S. markets for about three years.
Meanwhile, a strong run-up in the resource sector had pushed the TSX up as much as 14 per cent year to date last month. But these sectors have also taken the brunt of punishment as global economic worries pushed oil to 22-month lows, taking the energy sector down seven per cent last week alone. Base metals, equally vulnerable to a global slowdown, fell almost eight per cent last week.
The energy sector led TSX decliners Tuesday, down almost four per cent as oil prices remained under pressure. The November contract in New York was down $3.90 to US$81.84 a barrel, its lowest level since mid-June 2012 after the International Energy Agency slashed its oil-demand growth forecast for this year by more than a fifth because of the faltering global economy.
There was further glum data from Europe's biggest economy as the German government slashed its growth forecast for this year and next, deepening worries that Germany could slip into recession. The German Economy Ministry has cut this year's growth figure to 1.2 per cent from 1.8 per cent earlier this year and next year's to 1.3 per cent from two per cent.
Financials and telecoms were also major weights on the Toronto market.
The gold sector limited TSX losses, up about 3.7 per cent while December bullion gained $4.30 to US$1,233.70 an ounce.
The base metals sector was ahead 0.4 per cent while December copper was up five cents to US$3.09 a pound.
Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) was one of the few bright spots, rising 83 cents to $213.03 after news emerged that the railway made a pitch for U.S. railway CSX. CSX reportedly rebuffed the offer last week and it is unclear whether CP will make another run at the company. Such an acquisition would help CP get North Dakota crude to American East Coast refineries.