By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) - The Canadian equity market tumbled Thursday, with losses fronted by energy stocks that were hit by a slide in prices for oil and natural gas.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 232 points, or 2%, to 11,285.76, marking its largest percentage loss since mid-August. The index finished 0.6% lower on Wednesday.
The energy group on Thursday fell 2.5% as crude-oil prices fell 4% to $65.89 a barrel, a two-month low, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Shares of Canadian Natural Resources /zigman2/quotes/203742161/delayed CA:CNQ -0.61% lost 4.2%, Suncor Energy /zigman2/quotes/204570600/delayed CA:SU -0.10% shares fell 2%, and EnCana ended down 2.2%.
Crude's slump extends losses of 4% in the previous session after a weekly U.S. government report showed weak demand for oil and higher crude imports pushed inventories higher.
At the same time, October natural gas ended with a 2.5% loss at $3.955 per million British thermal units. Read more about energy prices.
Material-sector stocks fell 2.2%, moving lower as prices for metals lost ground. Gold futures shed 1.5% to $998.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December silver dropped 3.6% and copper fell 3.5.%.
Agnico-Eagle Mines /zigman2/quotes/205100210/delayed CA:AEM -0.80% shares gave up 4.4%, Pan American Silver slumped 5.5%, and Silver Wheaton fell 2.8%.
Elsewhere, stock in Research In Motion fell 2.4% ahead of the mobile-devices maker's release of its second-quarter results after market close.
Late Thursday, the company's net earnings fell 4% as a charge for a legal settlement offset strong sales of BlackBerry devices. Also, RIM's forecast for the third quarter came in lighter than had been expected by analysts. Read more about RIM's results.