TSX falls as investors seek clarity on Greece, Fed rate hike

Fri Jun 5, 2015 4:49pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell further on Friday as investors retreated from a range of stocks amid uncertainty about the Greek debt crisis and the timing of possible U.S. rate hikes.

See-sawing crude oil prices also played havoc on the resource-rich index as the OPEC producers group kept its oil output target unchanged and the U.S. dollar surged.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 62.23 points, or 0.41 percent, at 14,957.16.

That was its first sub-15,000 finish since mid-May and followed a 0.9 percent slip on Thursday. The index lost 0.4 percent on the week.

"Markets in the last two days have been caught in the crossroads of Greece, the uncertain implications of its debt problems on the future of the euro zone, and the employment figures – better North American job growth driving further speculation around the timing of an upcoming Fed rate hike," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

"Volatility has been the clear result as the markets try to digest these issues," he said. 

Weakness in some commodity prices, which was spurred in part by a stronger U.S. dollar, weighed on shares in the index's mining-heavy materials sector, which fell 1.2 percent. Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) dropped 2.7 percent to C$21.43, and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) gave back 2.7 percent to C$14.24.

In the energy group, which ended barely higher overall, Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote) fell 1.4 percent to C$58.37 and Canadian Oil Sands Ltd COS.TO added 2 percent, to C$10.71.   Continued...

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