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At the open: Canada's a dirty word Add to ...

On a day when crude oil is down, gold is down, the Canadian dollar is down and investors learned of steep and unexpected job losses in July, you know it's going to be a rough day for the Canadian stock market.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 141 points, to 13,244, at the start of trading on Friday morning, extending its down days to five of the past six trading days. Energy stocks fell as crude oil dipped to $117.40 (U.S.) a barrel, down $2.62. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. fell 2.6 per cent, EnCana Corp. fell 1.8 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. fell 2.7 per cent.

Gold producers fell after the price of gold fell to $856.79 an ounce, down $16.26. Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.7 per cent and Goldcorp Inc. fell 1.6 per cent. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. fell 3.2 per cent.

But the biggest loser is the Canadian dollar, which fell to a year low against the U.S. dollar after Statistics Canada reported that the economy shed more than 55,000 jobs in July - a sharp reversal from expected job gains of 5,000. The loonie fell to 93.7 cents, down 1.2 cents.

There were some winners, though, which helped to save the benchmark index from more severe losses. The Big Banks fared relatively well, with Bank of Montreal up 1.2 per cent and Bank of Nova Scotia up 0.7 per cent. As well, Research In Motion Ltd. rose 2.5 per cent.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 8 points, to 11,424. The broader S&P 500 fell 2 points, to 1264.

So far, the fallout from Fannie Mae's disastrous second quarter loss and dividend cut has affected little more than Fannie Mae - a significant shift from the days when one company's woes infected nearly everyone else. Fannie Mae shares plunged 10.9 per cent. But most other financial stocks have held up in early trading: Freddie Mac, which reported its own bombshell earlier in the week, rose 0.7 per cent, Wachovia Corp. rose 3 per cent and Citigroup Inc. rose 0.7 per cent.


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