TORONTO - The Toronto stock market stumbled on Friday as gold prices dropped against a stronger U.S. dollar and improved jobs numbers from south of the border.
The S&P/TSX composite index slid 31.75 points to close at 12,134.91.
The loonie was down 0.42 of a cent to 94.63 cents US, as jobs data from Canada beat expectations but was widely underwhelming.
Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1 per cent last month as employers pulled back after a wild month of hiring in May.
The agency says the economy shed a mere 400 jobs in June, a statistically insignificant number, but better than the 12,500 jobs economists had expected would be lost in the hangover from the hiring binge seen in May, when 95,000 new jobs were added.
On Wall Street, the U.S. jobs numbers were better received, raising hopes that the U.S. economy is headed towards a better second half of the year.
The Dow Jones industrials moved 147.29 points higher to 15,135.84, the Nasdaq gained 35.71 points to 3,479.38 and the S&P 500 index ticked up 16.48 points to 1,631.89.
The U.S. Labor Department said American employers added 195,000 jobs in June and hiring was more robust in the two previous months than earlier estimated, suggesting job growth is accelerating.
"There's still a lot of workers that have part-time work when they want to have full-time, but... putting yourself in the shoes of the employer, as long as they can hold off on doing the full-time employment I think they're going to," said Jennifer Radman, a portfolio manager with Caldwell Investment Management.
"It's seems that's kind of the last thing to fall into place."
In commodities, the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed ahead $1.98 at US$103.22 a barrel, which brought the price up seven per cent for the week.
August gold bullion dropped $39.20 to US$1,212.70 an ounce on the Nymex, and the TSX gold sector went with it. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) dropped 4.8 per cent, or 74 cents, to $14.57.
Copper prices were down 11 cents to US$3.065 cents a pound as the base metals sector fell 1.3 per cent.
The info tech sector was down 0.6 per cent as BlackBerry (TSX:BB) shares lost seven cents to $10.08. Smartphone competitor Samsung Electronics Co. missed quarterly earnings expectations on Friday as its phone sales growth started to slow.
Also, Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) listed its new real estate investment trust Friday on the TSX. Choice Properties REIT (TSX:CHP.UN) holds 415 retail properties, one office complex and nine warehouse properties totalling 35.3 million square feet of gross leasable area.
Choice Properties was trading at $10 — which was even with its public offering price — while Loblaw shares were down 73 cents at $46.75.
In Asia, markets were catching up with the gains in Europe the day before. The rally was triggered by the European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's statement that interest rates will remain low "for an extended period of time."
The ECB statement was echoed by the Bank of England and followed indications that the U.S. economy is growing — but probably not fast enough for the U.S. Federal Reserve to rush into tapering off its stimulus program. Markets had been spooked in recent weeks at the prospect of the stimulus ending.