CANADA STOCKS-TSX slips to one-week low as China fears hit sentiment

Reuters

* TSX falls 46 points, or 0.33 percent, to 14,221.23 * Nine of 10 main index sectors decline * Canadian Natural drop weighs on market By John Tilak TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index declined on Wednesday to its lowest in more than a week as worries about a slowdown in China weighed on prices of oil and copper, hitting investor sentiment and sending shares in almost every major sector lower.

Recent sluggish data from China and news of the country's first bond default raised investor nervousness about the world second-biggest economy. The London copper benchmark dropped to its lowest in about four years.

And with a referendum in Crimea looming, investors rushed to perceived safe-haven assets such as bullion, which jumped 1.5 percent.

The broader Toronto market, which is up about 4.4 percent this year, slipped for a second straight session.

"We're into a correction now. For Canada, it's a fairly healthy correction as we've recently had some strong moves upwards," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "So we were getting due." "We're seeing a definite turn towards defensive plays in the marketplace," he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 46 points, or 0.33 percent, at 14,221.23.

"Over time, as the global economic cycle improves, it does favor Canadian stocks," said Cieszynski, who sees any improvement in the United States or Europe benefiting the TSX.

Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on Wednesday.

With oil prices selling off on concerns about demand, the energy sector gave back 1 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 1.8 percent to C$39.91 and had the biggest negative influence on market. Suncor Energy Inc declined 0.4 percent to C$36.27.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, slipped 0.5 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada shedding 0.6 percent to C$71.87.

Gold-mining shares were the lone bright spot, jumping 2.1 percent. Goldcorp Inc added 3 percent to C$30.64, and Barrick Gold Corp advanced 2 percent to C$22.43.

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