Markets

Update: TSX Sheds 124 Points in Broad-Based Decline Dragged Down by Weaker Commodity Prices

Canada's main stock market lost ground on Friday as commodities, including oil and gold, declined. The S&P/TSX Composite Index fell 124 points or 0.9% to close at 13,497. For the week, the TSX gained 0.5%.

Nearly all of the TSX sectors were in negative territory. Healthcare and consumer staples lost 2%, energy was off 1.4% and financials were down nearly 0.7%.

In stock news, TransCanada (TRP.TO) shares dropped 0.5% after the pipeline maker bought Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group for US$10.2-billion in cash to give it a major position in a massive shale gas region in the U.S. Northeast. SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC.TO) fell 1.5% after announcing job cuts as part of a larger restructuring plan initiated last November. The engineering and construction firm says 600 of the 950 jobs being eliminated are in Canada.

Sears Canada (SCC.TO) gained 8% after saying it plans to cut costs by $127 million in Q1. Sears didn't specify how it would cut costs as its Q4 revenue declined nearly 9%. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO), one of the day's most influential shares, lost 8% on volume of more than two million. Bombardier (BBD-B.TO), Friday's most active share, gained 3%.

In economic news, a decline in gasoline prices is credited for lower than expected inflation numbers last month. Statistics Canada says the consumer price index came in at 1.4% for February -- under the 1.5% analysts were expecting and down from 2% in January. Core inflation, which doesn't include volatile items such as gasoline, was 1.9% -- also down from 2% in January. The Canadian dollar lost 17 basis points to 76.79 US, after rising above 77 cents US.

On the oil market, West Texas Intermediate crude finished the week at $39.44 per barrel, down 1.9% for the Friday session but up nearly 7% for the week.

Gold futures fell on Friday to finish the week with a loss of roughly 0.4%, said MarketWatch. Prices saw a pullback in the wake of the 2.9% rally a day earlier, when gold got a boost as the U.S. Federal Reserve cut its interest-rate hike expectations. April gold settled at $1,254.30 an ounce, down $10.70, or 0.9%, for the Friday session. Silver lost nearly 1% while copper was off 0.3%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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