The Toronto stock market was lower near midday Wednesday on growing uncertainty tied to global economic concerns over the European economy and political strife in Egypt.
The S&P/TSX composite index fell 67.59 points to 12,110.79.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.18 of a cent to 94.98 cents US.
In Portugal, the government teetered on the brink of collapse, reviving criticism over the eurozone’s strategy for dealing with its prolonged financial crisis.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has defied calls to resign but was running out of options to keep his centre-right coalition government together following the resignations of two key ministers in a spat over austerity.
The renewed concerns drove gold prices higher as August bullion also gained traction, up $12.60 to US$1,256 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper prices rose 2.2 cents to US$3.165 a pound for the September contract.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s unfolding political crisis pushed the price of oil to its highest level in more than a year, rising above US$100 a barrel for the first time since May 2012. The August crude contract on the Nymex was ahead $2.39 at US$101.99 a barrel.
Embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi vowed not to resign despite the demands of millions of protesters and a threat by the military to suspend the constitution, disband parliament and install a new leadership.
Egypt is not an oil producer but its control of the Suez canal – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, which links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea – gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.
The global developments were impacting Wall Street to a lesser extent, with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 11.66 points to 14,944.07. The Nasdaq was up 3.21 points at 3,436.60, while the S&P 500 index was 3.55 points lower at 1,610.53.
U.S. markets are trading in a shortened day and will close at 1 p.m. ET ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
On the TSX, telecom stocks pulled back once again, off 1.3 per cent, after Mobilicity pushed back a vote on the company’s proposed recapitalization plan by a week.
The struggling wireless service provider, which has reportedly held talks with U.S. telecom giant Verizon, did not give a reason for the delay Wednesday, other than saying it wanted to consider “potential alternatives.”
Shares of Canadian wireless companies have been weaker since rumours emerged of a potential new competitor in the domestic industry. Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) was off 65 cents to $41.72 and Telus (TSX:T) fell 92 cents to $31.37.
In earnings, Sandvine Corp, (TSX:SVC) swung to a US$900,000 profit in the second quarter as the Waterloo, Ont.,-based broadband technology provider posted significantly higher revenues in reversing last year’s Q2 loss. Revenues rose 27 per cent to US$23.5-million from US$18.6-million in the same 2012 period. Shares of Sandvine were off six per cent, or 12 cents, to $1.99.
In Europe, stock markets everywhere were down sharply. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.6 per cent at 6,203, while Germany’s DAX fell 1.5 per cent to 7,795. The CAC-40 in France was 1.3 per cent lower at 3,695.
Earlier, Asian markets also closed lower with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.3 per cent at 14,055.56 as the yen rallied against the U.S. dollar.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 2.5 per cent to 20,147.31, while Seoul’s Kospi fell 1.6 per cent to 1824.66. In China, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.6 per cent to 1,994.27 following disappointing manufacturing data.