TORONTO - The Toronto stock market shifted lower in Tuesday near midday as oil prices pulled back and data showed that North Americans are still feeling uneasy about the economy.
The S&P/TSX gave back 68.83 points to 11,261.56, while the TSX Venture Exchange dropped 4.91 points to 1,170.74.
The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.07 of a cent at 97.23 cents US, as a survey from the Conference Board of Canada showed consumer confidence fell sharply — by 6.8 points to 74 — in early June, back to where it was in January.
In commodities, the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved down 65 cents to US$78.56 a barrel, helping to send the energy sector 0.3 per cent lower.
Gold stocks were down 2.7 per cent as August gold declined $17.40 at US$1,571.00 an ounce, while July copper rose nearly two cents to US$3.30 a pound.
Metals and mining stocks were off 2.1 per cent while materials stocks were down 1.6 per cent.
The telecom sector rose 0.01 per cent as Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) said it will cut 375 jobs to counter shrinking profits and tougher competition. Its stock slipped 15 cents to $36.36.
On Wall Street, traders shifted between gains and losses on the market as they digested data which showed lower consumer confidence in June, the fourth consecutive monthly decline, as lingering worries about the economy outweighed relief at the gas pump.
The Conference Board said its U.S. consumer confidence index stood at 62, down from 64.4 in May and lower than the 63.2 analysts had been expecting. The index remains well below the 90 reading that indicates a healthy economy — a level it hasn't been near since the recession began in December 2007. But it's far from the all-time low of 25.3 reached in February 2009.
Meanwhile, new data showed home prices rose in nearly all major U.S. cities in April from March, further evidence that the housing market is slowly improving.
The Dow Jones average fell 77.93 points to 12,252.46, the Nasdaq decreased 4.14 points to 2,832.02 and the S&P 500 slid 3.27 points to 1,310.45.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. confirmed it is considering splitting into two publicly traded companies, driving shares to their highest level in 4 1/2 years. Details of the potential division were not disclosed, though a report in the Wall Street Journal said that a split would put the entertainment arm, including the 20th Century Fox film business and the Fox TV networks, into a separate company from News Corp.'s newspaper and book publishing businesses.
Concerns over the ability of Europe's leaders to agree on a package of measures to deal with their debt crisis were of particular focus as Cyprus became the fifth euro country to ask for financial assistance from its partners in the currency zone.
European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday for another summit and expectations of a significant change in policy are low even after top European officials, including European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, touted the benefits of jointly-issued eurobonds, which have been backed by France, Spain and Italy, among others.
In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 decreased by 0.06 per cent to 5,447.42 points. Germany's DAX slid 0.05 per cent to 6,131.86 and France's CAC-40 fell 0.13 per cent to 3,004.72.
Earlier, Asian markets mostly closed lower amid worries over Europe's debt crisis. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.8 per cent to close at 8,663.99 while South Korea's Kospi was 0.4 per cent lower at 1,817.81. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 per cent to 18,981.84.