The Toronto stock market started the final day of January trading deep in the red amid worries about European deflation and emerging markets.
The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 133.77 points to 13,601.51 amid a major acquisition in the energy sector. Uranium miner Cameco is selling its share of the Bruce Power nuclear partnership in southwestern Ontario to Borealis Infrastructure for $450-million. Cameco shares were down 73 cents to $23.85.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.34 of a cent to 89.22 cents (U.S.) after Statistics Canada reported that gross domestic product grew by 0.2 per cent during November, down from a 0.3 per cent rise in October.
U.S. indexes tumbled with the Dow Jones industrials down 222.4 points to 15,626.21, the Nasdaq fell 42.97 points to 4,080.16 and the S&P 500 index lost 21.55 points to 1,772.64.
Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, reported that inflation in the euro zone fell to 0.7 per cent in the year to January from 0.8 per cent the previous month.
The data raised worries that the euro zone could slip into a situation where prices are actually falling. Such deflation can hurt an economy as consumers delay purchases and businesses postpone investment.
The deflation concerns added to emerging market worries that have buffetted markets this past week.
Countries including Turkey, South Africa, India and Russia have seen their currencies slide sharply over the past week. Traders worry that growth will slow and money will flow out of their economies as the U.S. Federal Reserve tightens its monetary policy.
TSX losses were paced by a 1.6 per cent fall in the industrials group after Canadian National Railway posted quarterly earnings of $635-million or 76 cents, missing estimates by a penny as results were impacted by tough winter conditions. CN also raised its quarterly dividend by 16 per cent to 25 cents but its shares fell $1.31 to $58.03.
Nevertheless, RBC Capital Markets has raised its rating on CN stock to outperform and raised its price target by $2 to $66 per share, saying that 2014 is shaping up to be yet another record year for the railroad.
The energy sector lost 0.9 per cent as March crude in New York fell 74 cents to $97.49 (U.S.).
The base metals sector stepped back 1.2 per cent as March copper lost three cents to $3.20 (U.S.) a pound.
Financials were also a major weight, down 1.1 per cent.
Losses were limited by as 1.3 per cent gain the gold sector while risk-averse traders pushed bullion up $8.80 to $1,251.30 (U.S.) an ounce.
In the U.S., Amazon stock fell 8.77 per cent as the retailer handed in results that missed earnings and revenue forecasts.
Wal-Mart said that its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year adjusted earnings from continuing operations may come in at or slightly below the low end of its prior forecasts and its shares fell one per cent.
European bourses were sharply lower following the inflation report with London’s FTSE 100 index down 1.17 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX declined 1.5 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 fell 1.4 per cent.