TSX closes lower on energy share drop, up on week

Fri Jan 6, 2012 5:50pm EST
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished lower for the first time this year on Friday, as resource and financial issues fell after Canadian and U.S. jobs data failed to impress investors.

The market initially rose on data that showed the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in December and the jobless rate dipped to a near three-year low. But on second glance Friday's report underwhelmed in the wake of Thursday's standout private sector ADP report.

"Investors were setting themselves up for a really good jobs number and it didn't happen," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities.

Canada's employment picture was worse. A Statistics Canada report showed the economy gained 17,500 jobs in December, but the unemployment rate rose to its highest level since April and the new positions were all part time, a sign the economy is slowing.

"It's the third month in a row that the Canadian numbers have come in below expectations while the U.S. has posted incremental improvement," said Picardo. "It seems to indicate that we may be in for a challenging year ahead."

Seven of the Canadian market's 10 main sectors were down, led by a 0.6-percent drop in energy and material shares.

Talisman Energy TLM.TO, down 5.4 percent to C$12.68, and Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), which slid 2.3 percent to C$42.94, led the day's decliners.

Potash, the world's biggest fertilizer maker, said it will halt production of the crop nutrient at its mine at Allan, Saskatchewan, for four weeks, its third plant shutdown in the province this winter, as demand softens.   Continued...