Toronto Stock Exchange closes lower as traders anticipate U.S. rate hike

TORONTO – The Toronto Stock market closed lower after a day of choppy trading Friday as strong jobs data in the U.S. left investors anticipating a rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P/TSX composite index lost 62.23 points to close at 14,957.16, while the loonie finished the day up 0.42 of a U.S. cent to 80.39 cents US.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 56.12 points at 17,849.46, the Nasdaq index rose 9.34 points to 5,068.46, and the S&P 500 lost 3.01 points to 2,092.83.

The gold sector on the TSX was the biggest decliner, losing 2.3 per cent, while health care advanced the most, climbing by roughly one per cent.

In economic news, May job data both north and south of the border exceeded analyst expectations.

The Canadian economy created 58,900 jobs last month, although the jobless rate remained unchanged at 6.8 per cent as more people began searching for work.

Todd Mattina, chief economist and strategist at Mackenzie Investments, called the data “very encouraging” following a weak start to the year on the employment front.

“The pace of job growth in May was six times what economists had forecast,” Mattina said. “I think it’s the strongest report we’ve seen in more than six months.”

The U.S. saw 280,000 new jobs created last month, though the unemployment rate edged higher to 5.5 per cent as job seekers flooded the market looking for work.

“The strength of the U.S. payroll report increased the likelihood of Fed rate hikes around September to December,” Mattina said.

Meanwhile, Greece missed its repayment deadline to the International Monetary Fund, opting instead to bundle its payments for this month into a lump sum payable at the end of the month.

“Greece simply doesn’t have the cash to make all these payments,” Mattina said. “This is just another classic example of kicking the can down the road.”

Concerns about the debt-laden country have introduced greater volatility to markets in recent weeks.

“This environment of uncertainty will hold back growth prospects in the Eurozone more generally,” Mattina said.

Shares of DavidsTea (Nasdaq:DTEA) soared more than 30 per cent during their first day of trading on the NASDAQ Friday following a successful initial public offering by the Montreal-based tea store chain.

The shares were priced at US$19 per share Thursday but opened Friday at $25 and finished the day at $27.

Shares of Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) lost 2.83 per cent to $24.04. Reports say the company is considering buying the struggling Kaufhof chain in Germany.

On the commodity markets, the July crude contract was up $1.13 at US$59.13 a barrel and the August gold contract fell $7.10 to US$1,168.10 an ounce.

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