rI at the close, May 03, 2012
Toronto’s main stock index took a major hammering today with its biggest setback in 2 months. The TSX S&P composite index closed down 1.76% or 215.22 points to 12,014.90 on continued weak jobs and manufacturing data from the US, as well as pervasive bad Euronews.
News of the double whammy of lousy employment numbers and soft manufacturing data in the US weighs heavily on the resources heavy TSX and Venture exchanges.
Stocks on Wall Street were broadly lower Thursday also, with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index ending the day down 0.8 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average losing 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite index also fell, at 1.2 percent.
According to the NY Times, “Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000, the biggest weekly drop since May 2011. The report ran counter to data Wednesday that indicated weak private sector hiring and pushed stocks lower.
“This is a sign maybe people are tempering that and thinking the employment number won’t be quite as bad as that might have seemed,” said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Ill.”
The Times also reported that the 19 chains tracked by Thomson Reuters reported a thin 0.8 percent increase in sales at stores open at least a year, missing the 1.5 percent gain expected by analysts.
The TSX’s junior Venture exchange fell 14.60 points, or 1.02%, to 1,416.61.
European markets closed down as well, with the Euro Stoxx 50 shedding 0.14% or 3.21 points to 2,287.10, while London’s FTSE 100 climbed slightly by 0.15% or 8.44 points to 5,766.55.
Also dragging on markets would be the ECB’s continued reluctance to do much to prevent further calamity in the euro zone.
Reports suggested that Draghi has ruled out a further easing of monetary policy such as lowering its lending rate from the current 1% level unless there is further evidence of need. Many Europeans—such as Spain’s 50% unemployed youth—believe the evidence is already apparent and mounting.
Commodities on the London Metal Exchange were down, with oil taking the biggest hit, dropping 2.55% to $102.54 a barrel.
Copper for three-month delivery was down 0.92% to $8,229 a tonne, lead dipped 1.97% to $2,090/t and zinc shed 1.81% to $1,983.50/t, according to www.miningnews.net.
Forbes noted that the gold price has dropped for three straight months for the first time since 2001.
“Three consecutive months of falling gold prices are so rare that you can count the occurrences. Since 1957 in fact, they’ve struck only 65 times in a total of 661 three-month periods,” the author notes.
Sure they don’t happen often, but still what they mean may depend on whether you’re a cup half-empty or cup half-full type of person.
In British Columbia today, many marked the 125 anniversary of the province’s worst mining disaster, remembering the 150 dead men from the sprawling No. 1 Esplanade coal mine in Nanaimo. The unimaginable tragedy was sparked by a lit fuse that ignited a dust explosion so deep that it was imperceptible at the surface. Those who weren’t killed instantly would die of asphyxiation. Only 7 men ascended from the blast alive.