TSX Racks Up 3rd Day of Losses amid Weak U.S. Jobs Data, Lower Commodity Prices

By Morrison, Malcolm | The Canadian Press, April 4, 2013 | Go to article overview

TSX Racks Up 3rd Day of Losses amid Weak U.S. Jobs Data, Lower Commodity Prices


Morrison, Malcolm, The Canadian Press


TSX adds to losses on weak U.S. jobs data

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TORONTO - The Toronto stock market closed lower for a third session Thursday as further weak employment data raised worries about slowing U.S. economic conditions.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 59.07 points at 12,363.05.

On Wednesday, two soft economic reports and growing geopolitical risks had sent the main index tumbling 260 points, erasing TSX gains for the year.

The Canadian dollar edged up 0.21 of a cent to 98.78 cents US.

U.S. indexes were higher, clawing back a chunk of the losses sustained on Wednesday amid data showing the number of Americans seeking unemployment insurance rose to a four-month high last week.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that weekly applications increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 354,250. The report, which comes out Friday, had been expected to show a total of 190,000 jobs were created in the U.S. last month.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 55.76 points to 14,606.11 after falling 112 points Wednesday, while the Nasdaq composite index edged 6.38 points higher to 3,224.98 and the S&P 500 index was up 6.29 points at 1,559.98.

Statistics Canada also issues its March jobs report on Friday. Economists have had widely different views on what to expect following an unexpectedly big surge in February, when employment rose by 51,000 jobs.

Other data showed the U.S. service sector expanding in March at a slower than expected pace.

Traders were also rattled by threats from North Korea.

Early Thursday, North Korea warned that its military has been cleared to attack the U.S. though experts say it has not demonstrated it has missiles capable of long range or accuracy. Washington said it was working to defuse the situation.

While the declines over the last three sessions have left the TSX under water, New York has fared much better with the Dow industrials still ahead more than 10 per cent on what had been a steady stream of positive economic data and easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Also, the market is suffering from the fact that the TSX is heavily-weighted towards resource stocks, which in turn are influenced by commodity prices that have been under selling pressure.

And it's not just the TSX that is suffering.

"It's other markets that are taking it on the chin also and it seems like the U.S. is reigning supreme here and it's tough to see what's going to knock it off its perch," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

The energy sector led decliners, down 1.85 per cent as the June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped $1.19 to US$93.26 a barrel after falling almost $3 on Wednesday. …

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