TORONTO — The Toronto Stock Exchange saw a triple-digit loss on its last trading day of the week in a broad decline led by energy companies as the benchmark price for crude slipped.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 202.48 points Friday at 14,037.54, led by the energy sector, which was down 3.8 per cent.
Among the major oil and gas companies, Calgary-based Encana lost 77 cents, or nearly seven per cent, to close at $10.27.
The metals and mining sector of the TSX slipped 3.29 per cent and base metals stocks declined 3.02 per cent.
The Canadian dollar lost 0.27 of a U.S. cent to 78.39 cents US. That's despite the fact that Statistics Canada reported that the economy gained 13,800 jobs in May, pushing the jobless rate down to 6.9 per cent, its lowest level since last July.
"An important caveat to the report is that the government had difficulty surveying the Fort McMurray area, so the report probably overstates the strength of employment conditions,'' said Todd Mattina, chief economist at Mackenzie Investments.
"The Canadian dollar initially reacted very sharply to the surprisingly strong employment report, only to give back those gains later through the trading day.''
Fort McMurray, Alta., amid a wildfire that forced its evacuation last month. A recent jobs report showed a low unemployment rate, but an analyst said the government had difficulty surveying the Fort McMurray area. (Photo: Jason Franson/CP)
In New York, markets were also down as uncertainty around global economic risks weighed on investors' minds.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 119.85 points at 17,865.34, the broader S&P 500 composite index slid 19.41 points to 2,096.07 and the Nasdaq composite fell 64.07 points to 4,894.55.
Mattina said some of the key risks that have traders worried include the upcoming referendum on June 23 that will determine whether Britain will exit the European Union, as well as uncertainty relating to June meetings of the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.
"Increasingly we're seeing investors moving into safe haven assets, especially high-quality government bonds,'' Mattina said.
"Global bond yields are plumbing near historic lows, and global stocks at the same time are running into resistance and reaching record-high levels.''
The financial district in Toronto. (Photo: Guy Vanderelst/Getty Images)
In commodities, the July crude contract was down $1.49 at US$49.07 per barrel after cresting above the US$50 a barrel mark earlier this week for the first time since last July.
The rise in crude prices has lifted sentiment among traders to some extent, but concerns persist that the glut of supply could continue to weigh on prices over the long term.
July natural gas was down six cents at US$2.56 per mmBTU, the August gold contract rose $3.20 to US$1,275.90 an ounce and July copper contracts were little changed at US$2.03 a pound.
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