The Toronto stock market looked like a disaster area again today as oil and gas shares suffered record losses for a second successive session. The federal budget proposal unveiled this week contains strong energy-policy measures regarded by investors and oil companies as strongly negative for the industry.
The Toronto composite index of 300 stocks, the main indicator of price movement, slumped more than 88 points for its second-largest loss on record. The oil index fell 420 points, surpassing the previous record fall of 360 points in the preceding session.
Many Canadian oil stocks are listed on the American Stock Exchange in New York, and their collapse gave the Amex index its second-largest drop on record.
Trading was busy from the opening, and prices dropped headlong throughout the day. Imperial Oil, Canada's largest oil company, says the budget will affect its future plans significantly. It is a subsidiary of Exxon. Imperial Oil A dropped $2.88 to $37.25.
Big losers included Bow Valley B, down $9.50 at $75.50, and Dome Petroleum, off $8.50 at $65.50.
Brokers were dismayed at the breath and speed of the decline. Bruce Kennedy of Moss, Lawson and Co. in Calgary, Canada's oil capital, said he would not advise a client to buy a single oil or gas share at this time.
Kennedy said an address by Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed tonight may set off another round of confrontation with the federal government that would produce more uncertainty and slam oil shares again on Friday.