TSX extends losses as Encana speeds up shift to liquids

The Toronto stock market resumed last week’s selloff Monday amid news of a major acquisition in the energy sector while the latest round of Chinese economic data kept concerns elevated about global economic strength.The S&P/TSX composite index lost 120.85 points to 14,905.92 with all sectors contributing to the slide after falling 1.55 per cent last week.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) is buying Athlon Energy in a US$7.1 billion friendly takeover deal that will give the Canadian gas producer access to a major Texas oil play and speed up its shift towards more liquids production. Encana shares gained 73 cents to $24.32.The Canadian dollar traded near its lowest levels since March, up a slight 0.01 of a cent from Friday’s close to 89.66 cents US. The loonie has lost strength in recent days amid stronger than expected second-quarter economic growth in the U.S. along with increased speculation that the Federal Reserve could move to hike interest rates sooner than expected.U.S. indexes also piled on more losses with the Dow Jones industrials down 121.73 points to 16,991.42 after losing one per cent last week. The Nasdaq fell 27.21 points to 4,484.98 and the S&P 500 index declined 13.69 points to 1,969.16.China reported a 0.6 per cent fall in industrial company profits in August, indicating economic growth might be declining further. Despite improved September manufacturing data, analysts said declining industrial production, lower property prices, weaker imports and pressure on factory prices are pointing to softening economic conditions.Traders also focused on Hong Kong as pro-democracy protests escalated, raising concerns that business in this Asian financial hub might be disrupted. Thousands of people took to the streets over the weekend in a challenge against Beijing’s decision to limit political reforms.Markets are set to exit September trading lower as traders wonder if the U.S. central bank will move before the middle of next year to raise rates from near zero, where they have been since the 2008 financial collapse. Worries about the pace of global economic growth have also made for volatile markets during September.Seasonality also came into play: September has a reputation as the worst trading month of the year.The TSX is down about five per cent for September, led by drops in the energy and mining sectors. The showing has left the main Toronto index still up almost 10 per cent year to date.Financials led TSX decliners, down one per cent with National Bank (TSX:NA) down 96 cents to $50.64.The base metals component fell 1.25 per cent while December copper was unchanged at US$3.03 a pound as Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) droped two per cent to $21.10.The energy segment lost 0.8 per cent as the November crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up two cents to US$93.56 a barrel. The gold sector faded 0.2 per cent while December bullion gained $4.50 to US$1,219.90 an ounce.Data out Friday showing the world’s largest economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.6 per cent in the spring — the fastest pace in more than two years — helped push North American markets higher at the end of the week after a string of losses.On Monday, traders received another indication the economy is on solid footing heading into the final quarter of the year as consumer spending rose 0.5 per cent in August after showing no gain in July.But traders are looking for reassurance that job growth is also showing similar strong advances. They are expecting the U.S. government to report Friday that the economy created about 210,000 jobs during September. And it is possible that the disappointing August report will be revised upward.

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