CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 7-1/2 low as soft oil, rate hike outlook dents risk appetite

* TSX down 162.22 points, or 1.08 percent, at 14,915.78

* Touches lowest since mid-November

* Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups were down

* Energy stocks slide 2.5 percent, materials fall 1.9

TORONTO, July 7 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index fell
to a 7-1/2 month low on Friday as North American jobs data
supported expectations of interest rate hikes in Canada and the
United States, while higher bond yields and a slide in oil
prices added to investors’ retreat from riskier assets.

June employment figures for both sides of the border came in
stronger than expected. Canada added 45,300 jobs, topping the
10,000 forecast, while U.S. non-farm payrolls jumped by 222,000
jobs, ahead of the 179,000 economists were expecting.

Canada’s 10-year bond yield touched its highest level since
June 2015 at 1.884 percent.

At 10:26 a.m. ET (1426 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s
S&P/TSX composite index was down 162.22 points, or
1.08 percent, at 14,915.78. Earlier, it fell to 14,916.94, its
lowest since mid-November.

Nine of the index’s 10 main sectors were down.

The energy group retreated 2.5 percent, while bank stocks
slipped 0.6 percent. The materials sector, which includes miners
and other natural resource companies, lost 1.9 percent. The
three sectors account for roughly two-third of the index’s

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was among the most
influential movers on the downside, falling 2.0 percent to
C$36.12. Encana Corp shares declined 4.4 percent to

U.S. crude oil fell 3.6 percent to $43.89 a barrel.
Prices retreated after data showed U.S. production rose last
week just as exports from the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries hit a 2017 high, casting renewed doubt about
producers’ efforts to curb excess supply.

Barrick Gold Corp eased 1.6 percent to C$20.01,
while Goldcorp Inc fell 2.8 percent to C$16.14.

The price of gold, which has shed about 6 percent since
touching a seven-month peak in early June, hit a two-month low
on Friday amid the increasing likelihood of another U.S. rate
hike. Dollar-denominated bullion typically loses value when the
greenback and interest rates rise as it does not pay interest.

Paramount Resources Ltd tumbled 5.4 percent to
C$17.73 after it said late on Thursday it would buy the Canadian
subsidiary of U.S. oil and gas company Apache Corp for
C$459.5 million. Separately, Paramount also said it would buy
Trilogy Energy Corp.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the TSX by
217 to 25, for an 8.68-to-1 ratio on the downside.
(Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)