The Toronto stock market was lower amid growing skepticism about whether American political leaders can keep the U.S. economy from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.
The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 47.85 points to 12,325.91 as the clock ticks towards huge spending cuts and significant tax increases that will automatically click in after Dec. 31 if there’s no deal.
The American economy is already weak and economists warn the imposition of those measures could tip the U.S. back into recession and depress other economies around the globe unless the White House and Congress find a compromise budget plan.
The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 0.87 of a point to 1,195.88.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.05 of a cent at 100.56 cents US.
U.S. markets were also lower with the Dow industrials down 74.02 points to 13,022.29, the Nasdaq dropped 17.15 points to 2,968.76 and the S&P 500 index declined 8.71 points to 1,409.39.
All TSX sectors were lower save for the health care component.
Commodities were mixed with March copper unchanged at $3.60 (U.S.) a pound. The mining sector fell 0.9 per cent with Teck Resources down 41 cents to $35.18.
The energy sector was down 0.6 per cent with February crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead 30 cents to $91.17 (U.S.) a barrel. Suncor Energy declined 40 cents to $32.22.
February gold declined $2.60 to $1,661.10 (U.S.) an ounce while the gold sector declined 0.4 per cent. Iamgold Corp. faded 10 cents to $10.99.
The financial sector was also a drag with Scotiabank down 83 cents to $57.66.
On the corporate front, Research In Motion Ltd. shares edged up three cents to $11.73. The BlackBerry maker has sold NewBay to mobile services company Synchronoss Technologies Inc. for $55.5-million (U.S.). NewBay’s cloud-based services allow customers to store, share and deliver content like photo albums, social networking and other data, through smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices.
U.S. markets were on track for a fifth consecutive day of decline as the political gridlock continues and investors fret about the fallout it will have on the fragile economic recovery in the U.S.
Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama are meeting later today for last-minute talks on dealing with the fiscal crisis.