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TSX tumbles

TORONTO - Toronto’s main stock market index gave up early gains in another day of volatile trading yesterday, after a three percent drop the previous day, as investors fretted about whether the global economy is headed for another recession.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 179.24 points or 1.47 percent to 12,007.47. The Toronto stock market took a beating on Thursday, losing nearly 400 points, in a sell-off that was sparked by a spate of bad economic news from the US. The TSX was down 4.26 percent for the week.

Gold stocks climbed 2.33 percent as the price of bullion hit another record high. Gold for December delivery gained $30.20 to $1,852.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Goldcorp was the top heavyweight gainer, up 3.5 percent at C$51.18, while Barrick Gold added 2.1 percent to C$50.32.

Caledonia Mining Corporation fell close to 17 percent after it said, it faces a dispute with the Zimbabwean government over the Toronto company’s Blanket gold mine in southern Africa.

Energy stocks were down two percent as oil prices remained flat. US crude for September delivery slid $0.12 to 82.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and Suncor Energy fell 1.5 percent to C$29.22 while Canadian Natural Resources lost 2.4 percent to C$33.10.

Base metal stocks lost 3.5 percent as Inmet Minings shed 4.9 percent and Teck Resources (TCK_B.TO) declined 3.9 percent.

Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd reported a loss of C$4.7 million, up from a loss of C$900,000 in the same period a year earlier on startup costs. Labrador slid 8.9 percent.

In other major corporate news, credit rating agency DBRS has downgraded Canadian Tire Corp debt to BBB from an A rating, a day after the retailer completed its acquisition of sporting goods chain The Forzani Group Ltd. The downgrade, according to DBRS, was the result of an increase in the size of the company’s debt. Canadian Tire bought Forzani for C$765 million. Canadian Tire lost 1.6 percent.

Popular Cold-FX flu remedy maker Afexa Life Sciences Inc reported an narrowing of its first-quarter net loss Friday to C$3.1 million or C$0.03 per share from C$4.1 million or C$0.04 in the same prior-year period. The company has been in news recently for being the target of a hostile takeover bid by Montreal-based Paladin Labs Inc. Afexa lost 1.75 percent.

Absolute Software surged 12.5 percent. The computer software and services company turned to profit in fourth quarter, reporting net income of C$0.5 million or C$0.01 per share compared to net loss of C$3.8 million or C$0.08 per share in the prior year period. Analysts were expecting the company to report loss of C$0.02 per share for the quarter.

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Published August 20, 2011 at 9:19 am (Updated August 20, 2011 at 9:18 am)

TSX tumbles

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