TSX hits 2-month low as global interest rate hikes weigh

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FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange stock information is seen in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell to its lowest level in nearly two months on Thursday, weighed down by technology and healthcare stocks, as investors continued to fret over the pace of interest rate hikes by major central banks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended down 181.86 points, or nearly 1%, at 19,002.68, its lowest closing level since July 26.

The decline came as global central banks continued raising interest rates, following the U.S. Federal Reserve in a fight against inflation that is sending shockwaves through financial markets and the economy.

"Global equities are struggling as the world anticipates surging rates will trigger a much sooner and possibly severe global recession," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

Rate-sensitive technology stocks fell 2.8%, while healthcare stocks dropped 2.3%.

U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.7% higher at $83.49 a barrel in volatile trading focused on Russian supply concerns.

Still, the energy group fell 1.8%, while heavily weighted financials ended 0.7% lower.

Canadian retail sales data, due on Friday, could offer clues on the strength of the domestic economy, with money markets expecting the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates further next month.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Shounak Dasgupta and Jonathan Oatis)