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Citigroup report weighs on markets Add to ...

Stock markets fell Monday as a dismal earnings report from the biggest bank in the U.S. warned of further credit difficulties while investors were discouraged by record high prices for crude oil. Toronto's S&P/TSX composite index lost 64.58 points to 14,231.28 in a broad-based decline. The TSX Venture Exchange gained 52.51 points to 3,014.41 while the Canadian dollar was off 0.34 of a cent (U.S.) to 102.42 cents ahead of Tuesday's scheduled decision on interest rates by the Bank of Canada. The central bank is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged. On the economic front, Statistics Canada said Monday the latest reading on the composite leading index, used to forecast economic activity, showed little or no effect from the financial market turmoil that began in mid-August. The index rose 0.4 per cent in September, up from the 0.3 per cent gain recorded in August. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials moved down 108.28 points to 13,984.8. The Nasdaq composite index fell 25.63 points to 2,780.05 while the S&P 500 index dipped 13.09 points to 1,548.71. Stock markets were at or near the record-setting levels of mid-July, just before the U.S. housing contraction sparked a crisis on credit markets, so analysts say it's not surprising for markets to retrace some ground. Citigroup Inc. shares dropped 3.4 per cent to $46.24 (U.S.) after it said Monday its third-quarter profit dropped 57 per cent to $2.38-billion after taking a hit of more than $3-billion in mortgage-backed security losses, leveraged debt writedowns and fixed-income trading losses. The TSX energy sector was ahead 0.38 per cent as crude prices hit yet another record high closing price on supply concerns. There are also worries that Turkey could take unilateral military action against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. The November crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $2.44 from Friday's record close to $86.13 a barrel. Canadian Press

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