TORONTO – The Toronto stock market ended with a thud on Thursday as it closed out what has been one of its more tumultuous years in recent memory.
As it dragged to the finish line, the S&P/TSX composite index ended the session 132.34 points lower at 13,009.95 — the third consecutive day that Canada’s main index has weakened since trading resumed after the Christmas holidays.
For the year, the TSX has lost just over 11 per cent of its value, primarily as a result of a decline in key commodities prices.
Much of the blame can be placed on the drop in oil prices, which have fallen 30 per cent since the end of 2014.
The February contract squeezed a small gain of 44 cents in the final session of the year, closing at US$37.04 a barrel, while February natural gas rose 12 cents to US$2.34 per mmBtu.
“From an investment standpoint, it was a year of avoiding Canada,” said Cavan Yie, an analyst at Manulife Asset Management.
“It will probably mirror what the coming year might bring,” he added.
The loonie showed some measure of life, closing up 0.23 of a U.S. cent at 72.25 cents US. Still, that’s well below where the dollar finished 2014, when it was worth 86.2 cents US.
Markets also turned lower south of the border on the final trading day of 2015 year, although U.S indexes ended mixed year over year.
The Dow Jones average closed down 178.84 points at 17,425.03 on Thursday, down some 2.2 per cent on the year.
The S&P 500 finished 19.42 points lower at 2,043.94 on the day, enough to put it about three-quarters of a per cent in the red for the year. It was the worst return for the index since 2011.
The Nasdaq lost 58.44 points to 5,007.41, but stood out as the only major Wall Street market to strengthen in 2015 — rising 5.7 per cent.
Elsewhere in commodities, the February gold contract was up 40 cents at US$1,060.20 an ounce, but still ended the year weaker.
Gold has now fallen for three consecutive years, ending 2015 down 10.5 per cent.
March copper dropped by a penny to US$2.14 a pound.
North American stock markets will be closed on Friday for New Year’s Day before resuming on Monday morning as traders look to begin the year on better footing.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we do see the markets rebalance quicker than expected,” Yie said, noting that traders tend to look to future events to fuel their decisions.
“I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic, but more constructive versus the (previous) 12 months.”
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