National Post (Latest Edition)

Markets, loonie dragged down as oil falls again

- By Brian McKenna

TORONTO • Another big drop in the price of oil sent Canada’s largest stock market into sharp retreat Friday in a sell-off that also drove the commodity-sensitive loonie below US73 cents for the first time since mid-2004.

Traders headed for the exits as oil fell below US$ 36 a barrel following a report by the Internatio­nal Energy Agency that said the global oversupply of crude would continue until late next year.

T-he Canadian dollar, which has hit sev eral new 11- year lows since it closed last week at US74.76 cents, was down another 0.59 of a cent at US72.77 cents.

“-I still think the trajectory (of the loon ie) is probably going to be lower but not materially lower,” said Kevin Headland, director of capital markets and strategy at Manulife Asset Management.

In Toronto, the S& P/ TSX composite index lost 1.74 per cent of its value, closing down 226.64 points to settle at 12,789.95.

Things were even worse in New York. The Dow Jones plunged 309.54 points or 1.76 per cent to 17,265.21, while the broader S&P 500 fell 39.86 points or 1.94 per cent to 2,012.37 and the Nasdaq shed 111.70 points or 2.21 per cent to 4,933.47.

I-n economic news, the Commerce De partment reported that U. S. retail sales rose 0.2 per cent in November, indicating that holiday shopping south of the border is off to a solid if unspectacu­lar start.

But that failed to impress investors, even though consumer spending is a big part of the U.S. economy.

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