TSX drops after U.S. jobs data; banks, industrials slip

Fri Jan 9, 2015 4:57pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index declined on Friday as a mixed U.S. payrolls report weighed on investor sentiment and sent shares in the financial and industrial sectors lower.

The U.S. data showed nonfarm payrolls increased in December and the unemployment rate fell to 6-1/2-year low, but a drop in wages left investors fretting.

The index received support from the price of bullion, which was boosted by a drop in the U.S. dollar after the data, which spurred a jump in gold-mining shares. [GOL/]

Crude prices were in negative territory, with concerns rising about the impact of slumping prices on oil companies and their production plans. The commodity has shed about 55 percent of its value since June.

The Canadian benchmark index ended the week 2.5 percent lower.

Investors would do well to avoid energy and mining stocks because of the fluctuations in commodity prices, said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services, where he helps manage about C$750 million in assets.

"I want to be in businesses where there's more certainty and predictability, and an ability to control your pricing. You don't get that with the oil or oil services stocks," he said.

Schwartz said that he favors Canadian banks, insurers, telecoms and food retailers.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch