TSX dips on Syria threat, posts second monthly gain

Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:33pm EDT
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Friday as concerns that the United States and its allies might take military action against Syria hit commodity prices, offsetting a jump in Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc (ATDb.TO: Quote) after the retailer reported results.

The Toronto market climbed 1.3 percent in August, its second straight monthly gain, outperforming the S&P 500 .SPX for the first time in eight months.

Couche-Tard's profit more than doubled in its first quarter, helped by stronger merchandise sales at its convenience stores in Canada, the United States and Europe.

The market digested figures that showed U.S. consumer spending barely rose in July and inflation was tame. In Canada, data indicated the economy shifted into lower gear in the second quarter and contracted in June for the first time in six months.

The United States made clear on Friday it would punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a recent chemical weapons attack that it says killed more than 1,400 people.

That capped a volatile week that saw sharp moves in the prices of gold and oil as investors tried to gauge the implications of any military action in the highly-sensitive Middle East.

"The market psyche will get impacted, but the impact will be shorter term," said Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada.

"It's hard to see the U.S. and its allies engaged in this conflict over the longer term."   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch