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TSX hit hard by falling commodities Add to ...

It's a sea of red out there now. On Tuesday afternoon, an early slump for Canada's commodity-heavy benchmark index looked set to turn into a rout as investors dumped energy producers and gold miners in particular.

In mid-afternoon trading, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 275 points or 2 per cent, to 13,659 -- and that's given the positive backdrop of a majority Conservative government and the end of Osama bin Laden, developments that had been seen as a potential benefit for stock markets.

Commodity prices were down, though not precipitously: Gold fell to $1,540 (U.S.) an ounce, down $17. Crude oil fell to $112.31 a barrel, down $1.21. However, the impact on commodity producers was strong. Materials stocks led the TSX down, falling 2.4 per cent, while energy stocks fell 1.7 per cent.

Investors really had it in for Suncor Energy Inc., which fell 6 per cent after it released its quarterly financial results. But other energy producers were also pummelled. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. fell 2.9 per cent and Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. fell 2.7 per cent.

Among gold miners, Barrick Gold Corp. fell 2.5 per cent and Kinross Gold fell 2.7 per cent. But even base metals miners were hit, with Teck Resources Ltd. down 2.9 per cent.

The silver market has been rocky most of the week, after CME Group Inc. raised trading margins on the precious metal for the third time in eight trading days on Monday. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the price of silver plunged 11 per cent in eight minutes late on Sunday when electronic trading began. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index was relatively steady, rising 0.2 per cent, to 73.1.

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