June 5, 2015 / 11:32 AM / 4 years ago

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

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.

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

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) dropped 2.7 percent to C$21.43, and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) gave back 2.7 percent to C$14.24.

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

Insurers were among the most influential gainers, with Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) rising 0.6 percent to C$23.68 and Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO) up 0.9 percent at C$41.15.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said he expects volatility in commodity prices to weigh on the TSX if the U.S. dollar stays robust.

Dairy-products producer Saputo Inc (SAP.TO), which missed quarterly profit expectations on Thursday, was down another 2.6 percent at C$31.71 after dropping some 4.7 percent in the previous session.

Reporting by John Tilak and Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway and Meredith Mazzilli

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