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.
For the week, the TSX was down less than 1 percent despite huge daily swings.
Five of the index’s 10 main sectors were negative. The financial sector led the TSX lower, falling 1.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was the biggest loser, dropping 2.4 percent to C$45.85.
Energy stocks slid 0.6 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) down 1.3 percent at C$37.73 after gaining more than 9 percent the previous session.
The index’s heavily weighted materials sector rallied late to finish up 0.2 percent, driven by Potash Corp (POT.TO), which rose 1.5 percent to C$48.89.
A day after its stock hit a seven-year low, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion’s RIM.TO shares rose 1.5 percent to C$19.31, helping lead the technology sector up 0.4 percent.
In individual company news, DragonWave Inc DWI.TO shares jumped more than 40 percent after the telecom network equipment maker announced it would buy the microwave technology business of Nokia Siemens Networks NOKI.UL in a deal worth as much as 110 million euros (C$155 million).
Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Galloway