Toronto stocks seen under pressure from U.S. data

Fri Mar 7, 2008 9:14am EST
 
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TORONTO, March 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was set to cap off a volatile week under more pressure on Friday as disappointing U.S. jobs data was seen stoking the same economic fears that chopped more than 240 points off the index in the previous session.

However, stocks may find some comfort in Canadian data that showed an unexpected jump in new jobs last month, as well as gold prices that benefited from a sagging U.S. dollar.

Canada's benchmark index has tumbled 3.7 percent in the last five sessions as the reemergence of economic fears put a stop to a commodities-driven climb of more than 7.8 percent in 15 days.

U.S. stock futures, an important gauge for the TSX, pointed to a lower start on Friday after news that U.S. employers slashed some 63,000 jobs in February, yet another sign the world's biggest economy is slowing. For details, see: [nN06253619]

"The spillover from the credit contraction in the United States has disseminated itself worldwide, so we're suffering from that," said Douglas Davis, president at Davis-Rea.

Banks and other financial institutions led the fall in the previous session, and Davis noted that Bank of Montreal BMO.TO and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO have taken the brunt of the pain in that sector.

Canada added five times more jobs than expected last month, data that could provide some support because stocks typically benefit in a stable economy. See: [nN07245096]

Elsewhere, contract drugmaker Patheon Inc PTI.TO reported a wider quarterly loss due partly to a weaker U.S. dollar. For details, see: [nN07259006]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 13,360.44 after falling 242.88 points, or 1.8 percent, in the previous session.

($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Scott Anderson)