BUSINESS

TSX Down By Triple Digits Amid Greece Jitters, Sliding Oil Prices

06/19/2015 04:12 EDT | Updated 06/19/2015 05:59 EDT
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TORONTO — The Toronto stock market turned sharply negative Friday afternoon, with all sectors lower amid a drop in commodity prices and continuing uncertainty overseas.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 117.52 points to 14,653.12 as oil and metals prices retreated. The loonie lost 0.26 of a U.S. cent to 81.53 cents.

U.S. indexes were also solidly in the red, giving back a big chunk of Thursday's Fed-boosted gains as the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 99.89 points at 18,015.95. The Nasdaq, which closed at an all-time high on Thursday, was 15.95 points lower at 5,117 and the S&P 500 declined 11.25 points to 2,109.99.

On commodity markets, the July crude contract closed down 84 cents at US$59.61 a barrel, while August gold eased 10 cents to US$1,201.90 an ounce and July copper fell almost four cents to US$2.57 a pound.

Analysts said much of Thursday's gain could be traced to the dovish stance on interest rates taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.

The U.S. central bank lowered its growth forecasts for the economy, hinting that it was in no rush to raise historically low rates and that an increase, when it does come, likely will be moderate.

Across the Atlantic, the European Central Bank agreed to provide temporary support to Greek banks ahead of an emergency summit meeting next week to discuss the country's sovereign debt crisis.

Athens faces a debt repayment deadline at the end of the month that it can't meet and talks are deadlocked over demands by lenders for greater austerity measures before they advance more bailout money.

That could lead to a default and an exit by Greece from the euro and possibly the European Union — the so-called Grexit.

Meanwhile, the trading day began on a negative note in Asia, as the Shanghai composite index tumbled 6.4 per cent, bringing its loss for the week to 13 per cent. That has raised concerns that the bubble has burst on China's main index, which has more than doubled in the last year.

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