TSX ends lower on euro worries, jobs data

Fri Nov 4, 2011 6:04pm EDT
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - The TSX turned lower on Friday following two days of gains as uncertainty about the fate of the Greek debt bailout package and weak North American jobs data hurt investor confidence.

Markets were focused on a parliamentary vote of confidence in the government of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday night, which could derail the euro zone bailout plan that was hammered out last week.

Adding to investor worries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said few countries in the Group of 20 leading economies had committed to the bailout fund.

The uncertainty had investors "locking in profits before the weekend," said Paul Mesburis, portfolio manager at Excel Funds Management.

Unexpected job losses also threw the market a curve, as data showed the Canadian economy unexpectedly lost 54,000 jobs in October after a strong September.

"Given the kind of optimism that we have preached around here for a while about the state of the economy of Canada, some people might be a little bit surprised by those numbers," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

U.S. jobs data was mixed. U.S. employers hired fewer workers in October but the jobless rate fell to a six-month low and revisions showed job gains in the previous two months were stronger than thought, pointing to some improvement in the still-weak labor market.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 60.10 points, or 0.48 pct, at 12,408.25, clawing back some losses in the afternoon after hitting a session low of 12,308.21.   Continued...