Canadian markets lose all gains of New Year

January 13th, 2009 - 11:13 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Jan 13 (IANS) After posting gains of almost five percent since Jan 1, Canadian markets retreated into the negative territory for the first time in the New Year Monday.As commodity prices slipped lower, the Toronto stock market crumbled more than 3.45 percent to almost wipe off the gains made this year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) composite index fell 317 points to close the day at 8,768.1, slipping below the 9,000-mark for the first time in 2009.

The Canadian dollar also lost gains of recent days against the US dollar, diving by 1.75 cents to close at 82.23 cents US.

In the energy sector, Canadian Natural Resources fell $2.67 to $48.07. Suncor Energy Inc. lost almost five percent to close at $48.07.

The market retreated as the nation’s central bank said sales will fall in the coming 12 months, leading to job losses.

“Firms expect sales growth to slow over the next 12 months and the level of uncertainty about sales prospects has risen, with risks skewed to the downside. The balances of opinion for both investment and employment have turned negative,” the Bank of Canada said in its winter Business Outlook Survey released Monday.

The survey said business sentiment has deteriorated as the global financial crisis and the weakening economy hit domestic demand in Canada.

“Almost all indicators are at their lowest level since the survey began in 1997,” the bank said.

Official figures also showed that housing prices continued to fall in Canada.

Statistics Canada said Monday that prices of new houses fell by 0.3 percent in November as the demand continued to slump.

The official agency said the November fall follows the 0.4 percent decline in October.

Canada is witnessing fall in home prices for the first time after more than a decade.

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