The Toronto stock market was slightly lower amid disappointing jobs figures that showed the Canadian economy lost an unexpected 9,400 jobs in June.
The S&P/TSX composite index dipped 10.59 points to 15,103.89, pushed down by energy and metals but countered by rising gold and materials stocks.
The worse-than-expected jobs numbers also put pressure on the Canadian dollar, which fell 0.48 of a cent to 93.44 cents (U.S.).
Statistics Canada reported that the economy had an unexpected loss of 9,400 jobs in June, with the unemployment rate rising one-tenth of a point to 7.1 per cent – the highest since last December. Full-time employment rose by 33,500, partly making up for the loss of 43,000 part-time jobs.
Economists had expected another big month of job creation following May’s 25,800 gain, but June resumed what has become a year-long trend of weak demand for workers. Economists had forecast that 24,000 jobs would’ve been created last month.
With no U.S. economic data set for release, the Dow Jones industrials fell 31.44 points to 16,883.63, the Nasdaq lost 1.57 points to 4,394.63, while the S&P futures dipped 3.31 points to 1,961.37.
World markets took a hit Thursday amid rising concerns over Europe’s financial stability Portugal’s Espirito Santo International, which own’s the country’s largest bank, reportedly missed a debt payment this week and was cited for accounting irregularities, echoing issues that sparked Europe’s debt crisis four years ago.
On Friday, senior Portuguese officials dismissed the speculation that it is by saying it had a €2.1-billion cash cushion which is enough to cover its exposure to other Espirito Santo group companies and keep it within regulatory requirements.
In corporate news, Wells Fargo reported its second-quarter profit rose three per cent, bolstered by loan growth, higher deposit balances and improved credit quality. Revenue slipped, but still topped analysts’ estimates. The largest mortgage lender in the U.S. said net income after taking out dividends on preferred stock was $5.42-billion (U.S.), or $1.01 per share, for the period ended June 30. A year ago it earned $5.27-billion, or 98 cents per share.
Meanwhile, in commodities, the price of oil began to fall again on Friday, giving up most of the gains it had made the previous day in the first rally in two weeks.
Oil prices shot up in the last month to a 10-month high of more than $107 (U.S.) a barrel over concerns that strife in Iraq might disrupt supplies. However, they have since been easing back down as al-Qaeda inspired militants’ gains in Iraq did not affect oil exporters. Also putting downward pressure on prices is the prospect of a sudden return of Libyan oil to the global market.
On the commodity markets, the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 85 cents to $102.08 a barrel.
August bullion was down $1.30 to $1,337.9 an ounce, while August copper was down a penny to $3.25 a pound.