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Toronto and New York stock markets, loonie, most commodities close in the red

TORONTO – North American markets capped the week with a lacklustre end after major U.S. indices reached record highs Monday, while the loonie fell amid disappointing economic data.

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.55 of a U.S. cent to 77.78 cents US.

The commodity-sensitive loonie reacted to disappointing retail sales numbers, said Colin Cieszynski, chief marketing strategist at CMC Markets Canada.

Statistics Canada released retail trade data Friday showing that total sales in June were 0.1 per cent lower than in May.

The loonie started dropping in the morning after the numbers were announced, noted Cieszynski.

North American markets also declined Friday after what started out as a strong week with the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite breaking records.

“The rally has gotten tired and we’re seeing it fall back,” said Cieszynski.

Toronto’s S&P/TSX index also closed in the red, falling 8.22 to 14,687.46. The index was dragged down by metal producers, Cieszynski said, as gold prices fell.

The Dow lost 45.13 points to 18,552.57, the S&P fell 3.15 to 2,183.87, while the Nasdaq dropped 1.77 to 5,238.38.

The U.S. stocks were mostly lower as investors continued to sell phone and utility stocks, and energy companies dragged the markets down.

“It’s not uncommon at this time of year,” said Cieszynski, explaining that mid-August to mid-October is historically the weakest time of the year for stock.

He attributed this to the summer ending, people going on vacation, the earnings season finishing, and less corporate and economic news driving the markets.

With the markets consolidating and trading down slightly, he said, in many respects this was a normal, quiet summer Friday.

Even crude oil, he added, levelled off, posting a small gain for a seventh straight day.

Meanwhile, the September crude contract recorded a modest 30 cent jump to US$48.52 per barrel. The October contract, which is currently trading at a larger volume, rose 22 cents to $49.11 a barrel.

The huge run in oil recently may have also caused some people to take some profits ahead of the weekend, Cieszynski said.

Other commodities dropped as the U.S. dollar bounced back, he added.

October natural gas declined 9.3 cents at US$2.619 per mmBTU. The December gold contract fell $11 to US$1,346.20 an ounce and September copper contracts were little-changed at US$2.167 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

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