Canada Stocks Fall as Commodities Slide After U.S. Jobs Report

  • Gold futures retreat after U.S. employers added jobs in March
  • Oil erases 2016 gains as Saudi Arabia challenges Iran output

After the biggest monthly rally since 2011, Canadian stocks stalled to start April, as crude wiped out gains for the year and gold declined after data showed the U.S. economy added more jobs than forecast.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index fell 0.4 percent to 13,440.44 at 4 p.m. in Toronto for a second day of losses. The Canadian benchmark equity gauge rose 4.9 percent in March, the best monthly advance since October 2011. The S&P/TSX is also up 3.3 percent this year and remains one of the best-performing developed markets in the world, trailing only New Zealand.

Canadian equities had a seesaw first quarter, as losses by energy and raw-materials producers through Jan. 20 were wiped out by rebounding resource companies during February and March. The broader S&P/TSX trades at 21.3 times earnings, about 13 percent more expensive than the valuation of the U.S. equity benchmark, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show. 

Crude slumped to cap a weekly decline of 6.8 percent in New York, dipping below $37 a barrel and erasing gains for the year after Saudi Arabia said it will only freeze its oil output if Iran and other major producers do so, the kingdom’s deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Gold futures for June delivery fell 1 percent to settle at $1,223.50 an ounce in New York, as demand for the metal as a store of value declined after the latest U.S. jobs report. Employers added 215,000 workers in March, more than forecast, while the unemployment rate climbed to 5 percent as more people entered the labor force. The latest signs of strength in the U.S. economy come after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen this week sounded caution over the pace of interest-rate increases amid uneven global economic growth.

Energy producers sank 2.4 percent, the most in the S&P/TSX, and financial services stocks retreated. Raw-materials companies rebounded in afternoon trading, erasing a loss of as much as 1.6 percent to finish the day higher. Kinross Gold Corp. added 2.3 percent to its highest since July 2014. The three industries account for about two-thirds of the S&P/TSX. Trading volume was 17 percent lower than the 30-day average.

BlackBerry Ltd. slumped 7.6 percent, the most since January, after the smartphone maker posted sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates on lackluster demand for its new handset. The company is shifting to software and services and away from devices as it struggles to compete with smartphones from Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

Bombardier Inc. climbed 5.3 percent, touching a November high, after the struggling aerospace manufacturer secured a firm order for 20 Challenger jets valued at $534 million.

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