Canadian Stocks Fall as Jobs Reports Miss Economists’ Estimates

Canadian stocks plunged, sending the benchmark index toward its biggest weekly drop since September 2011, after the country’s employment fell the most in four years and U.S. jobs data missed economists’ forecasts.

Enbridge Inc. and Niko Resources Ltd. declined more than 2.3 percent as oil sank. Manulife Financial Corp. dropped 2.3 percent, extending its losing stretch to three days. Toronto-Dominion Bank slipped 1.8 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 103.01 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,260.04 at 9:52 a.m. in Toronto. The benchmark gauge has lost 3.8 percent this week, erasing its gain for the year as concern over global economic growth weighed on oil and metal prices. Commodity stocks make up 40 percent of the benchmark equity index by weighting.

The surprise decline of 54,500 positions in March offset a 50,700 gain in February, data from Statistics Canada showed today. The unemployment rate rose for the first time in five months, to 7.2 percent from 7 percent. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 6,500 job gain and 7 percent unemployment, according to median forecasts.

U.S. jobs data showed payrolls grew by 88,000 workers in March, the smallest in nine months and less than half the total expected by economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Gold futures jumped in New York as investors sought safety after the disappointing U.S. jobs data. Oil fell for a third day on concern the hiring slowdown signals weaker economic growth for the world’s largest consumer of oil.

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