Canada’s S&P/TSX composite index ended near its session lows and at its weakest level in two weeks, weighed down by the materials sector as commodity prices slipped.
Research In Motion Ltd. was also a drag on the market, closing down 6.7 per cent, as investors continued to react negatively to the BlackBerry 10 unveiling on Wednesday after the company disclosed the devices won’t hit U.S. store shelves until March.
The TSX lost 109 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 12,685; the S&P 500 was down 3.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 1,498; and the Dow Jones industrial average was down 49 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 13,860.
Oil closed down 48 cents at $97.46 (U.S.) per barrel and gold was down $16 at $1,663.90 per ounce.
The relatively steady climb through January that has brought U.S. indexes close to all-time highs has sparked concern that markets are overdue for a pullback - at least in the short term.
Economic data today were a rather mixed bag. New U.S. jobless claims last week jumped 38,000 to 368,000. That’s a one-month high and a little more than economists expected, but claims are usually quite volatile this time of year. The U.S. employment cost index rose a mild 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter when seasonally adjusted, matching Street expectations. And U.S. personal income rose 2.6 per cent in December, the fastest pace in eight years, and much higher than economists had predicted. But much of that jump was attributed to one-time dividend distributions during the month.
In Canada, November GDP was up 0.3 per cent, accelerating from a rise of 0.1 per cent in October and no gain in September.
In stock action, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan fell 1.9 per cent after a disappointing earnings report. Facebook, which reported better-than-expected earnings late Wednesday that still managed to disappoint many analysts, ended down less than 1 per cent at $30.97.