TSX extends quarterly decline as recession worries grow

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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Wednesday, weighed by weakness in energy and technology shares, amid growing fears that aggressive policy tightening by central banks to tackle inflation will tip economies into recession.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 144.10 points, or 0.8%, at 19,078.64.

It is on track to decline 12.8% in the second quarter, which would be its worst quarterly performance since the pandemic-led slump in 2020.

There is a risk U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate increases will slow the economy too much, but the bigger risk is persistent inflation that starts to let public expectations about prices drift higher, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said.

"Worries (are) once again rising about how far interest rates will need to rise to curb inflation and what this means for growth," said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital.

"I think sentiment is shifting to the view that the U.S. Fed will not be able to avoid a hard landing and that the U.S. economy is destined to tip into recession."

Canada sends about 75% of its exports to the United States, including oil.

The energy sector fell 3.7%, giving back some of its gains over the previous three days, as oil prices fell. U.S. crude futures settled 1.8% lower at $109.78 a barrel, with worries about slower economic growth offsetting ongoing concerns about tight crude supplies.

The technology group ended 2.2% lower, including a decline of 5.6% for the shares of e-commerce giant Shopify Inc after the company completed a 10-for-1 stock split.

(Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)