TSX fumbles mid-day gains to close session lower
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 31, 2008 7:29PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 9:25PM EDT
TORONTO - The Toronto stock ended one of the worst months in its history with a fizzle on Friday, after swinging wildly most of the week amid upheaval in the world's stock, currency and commodity markets.
The main Toronto index fell 17 per cent in October and is now down more than 4,000 points since the beginning of 2008, or about 30 per cent.
On Friday, Toronto's S&P/TSX composite index fell 93.45 points to 9,762.76 after mounting a brief surge into positive territory late in the afternoon, motivated by rising oil prices.
But the upward momentum was short-lived.
The energy sector wrapped the day lower even though the December crude oil contract ended ahead $1.85 to $67.81 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Crude oil has dropped 32.6 per cent since the start of October, which is its biggest drop in value since it began trading on the Nymex in 1983.
Although the Toronto has had a horrific month, it had risen more than 1,300 points in the middle three sessions, or about five per cent for the week.
After such a dismal showing in October some industry observers are looking to November for some signs of direction.
John Johnston, chief strategist at The Harbour Group at RBC Dominion Securities, says markets will start to get a taste of October's bad economic data, but overall market reaction could still look comparatively good, albeit not exactly fantastic.
"After such a sharp sell off in October and really extreme readings on momentum measures, I think there's a good cause in November to see a rebound in the equity markets," he said.
"I look to the technical analysts for guidance about timing the bottom, and their indicators say we're probably close but we're not all there yet."
The Canadian dollar rose 0.92 cents Friday to close at 83.02 cents US after falling to its lowest level in more than four years early in the week, as the U.S. dollar surged against other major currencies.
Since closing at 77.59 cents US on Monday, Canada's dollar has come roaring back as the American currency lost momentum and began to fall back.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that gross domestic product took a 0.3 per cent decline in August, after a strong 0.7 per cent increase in July.
The TSX gold sector was the biggest losing sectors, down 6.8 per cent, as the bullion contract dropped $20.30 to US$718.20 an ounce.
Goldcorp Inc. shares lost $1.98 to $22.54 on the TSX after reporting third-quarter net income of US$297.2 million, up from $75.8 million, thanks to a big non-cash foreign exchange gain, while operating results deteriorated.
The Dow Jones industrial average ditched morning losses to climb 144.32 points to 9,325.01 despite a U.S. Commerce Department report that said personal spending fell 0.3 per cent last month, the biggest decline since June of 2004.
New York's Nasdaq composite index rose 22.43 points to 1,720.95 while the S&P 500 increased 14.66 points to 968.75.
The TSX Venture Exchange moved up 35.55 points to 915.30.
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. shares were up five cents to $31.67 after third-quarter profit rose to $91.3 million from $63.2 million although the global engineering firm's revenue slipped to $1.69 billion from $1.79 billion.
Lumber giant Canfor Corp. reported a net loss of $94.2 million or 66 cents a share for the third quarter from a $42.1 million loss for the third quarter of 2007. Shares rose 24 cents to $6.87.
Fortis Inc. had third-quarter earnings of $49 million, as revenue increased to $727 million from $651 million. Its shares dipped 20 cents to $26.30.
Priszm Income Fund said Jeff O'Neill has resigned as its chief executive officer effective immediately. Units in the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurant operator moved 20 cents lower to $2.20.
IGM Financial Inc. has reported a nine per cent decline in third-quarter profit as the operator of Investors Group and Mackenzie mutual funds endured a six per cent revenue decline. Shares rose $2.08 to $36.44.
Shares of Compton Petroleum Corp. fell 20 per cent, or 62 cents, to $2.50 after the Calgary company took itself off the block saying that, despite"considerable interest," it doesn't believe the company would attract a satisfactory deal given the current economic environment.
Loring Ward International Ltd. said its takeover by Werba Reinhard Inc. has been cancelled, and its shares are down 81 cents to $7.99.
NorSask Forest Products Ltd., owned by the Meadow Lake, Sask., tribal council, is shutting down its sawmill and laying off 62 workers on the Friday before Christmas. The United Steelworkers union says the closure is a further indication of the forest industry crisis across Canada, and "neither the provincial nor federal governments have shown any interest in finding meaningful solutions to the ongoing disintegration."
Auto parts supplier ArvinMeritor says it will cut 1,250 jobs to help cut costs on weakness in the U.S. economy and poor auto sales.