Energy issues have biggest fall The Toronto stock market started the 2014 trading year in negative territory as resource stocks pulled back in the wake of a mixed bag of manufacturing data. The S&P/TSX composite index faded 27.36 points – though well off its lows of the day -- to conclude business Thursday at 13,594.19. The Canadian dollar slipped 0.43 cents to 93.71 cents U.S. Commodity prices were mixed in the wake of the manufacturing data with the base metals sector down while March copper was down a cent to $3.38 U.S. a pound. Teck Resources shed 12 cents to $27.53 . The financial sector, one of the strongest 2013 performers with a 22% gain, also moved lower as Manulife Financial gave back 25 cents to $20.71 . The TSX energy sector declined as Canadian Natural Resources lost 62 cents to $35.32 . Imperial Oil declined 46 cents to $46.58 . Telecoms also weighed with Rogers Communications down 40 cents to $47.67 . The only area of support came from the battered gold sector, up as February bullion climbed in price after the previous metal tumbled 28% last year. Goldcorp gained $1.03 to $24.07 , while Barrick Gold took on 78 cents to $19.49 . Economically speaking, the RBC Purchasing Managers' Index for December indicated that business conditions continue to improve in the month with an index reading of 53.5 though this is down from the November reading of 55.3. Any figure over 50 indicates improving business conditions in the manufacturing sector. Offshore, China's factory activity slowed in December, official and private manufacturing surveys showed, reinforcing views that growth in the world's second-largest economy moderated in the final quarter of 2013. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange grew 7.24 points to 939.21 All but four of the 14 TSX subgroups were lower, weighed mostly by energy issues, off 1%, while financials settled 0.9% and consumer discretionary stocks dipped 0.8%. The four gainers were led mostly by gold, hiking 4%, while materials jumped 1.8% and health-care moved higher 0.3%. ON WALLSTREET Stocks got off to a weak start for the year, as investors took a step back amid growing worries about slowing economic growth in China . The Dow Jones industrial average capsized 135.31 points to end the year's first session at 16,441.35 The S&P 500 index moved lower 16.38 points to 1,831.98. The NASDAQ lost 33.52 points to 4,143.07. It was the first time the markets started the year on a down note since 2008. On the corporate front, shares of Fiat jumped 16% in Milan after the Italian automaker announced Wednesday it was buying full control of Chrysler. A series of upgrades and downgrades from Wall Street analysts sent a number of big stocks moving. Shares of Apple slid after Wells Fargo downgraded the iPhone maker to market perform from outperform. Sprint moved lower following a downgrade from Cowen & Co. A downgrade from Jefferies sent shares Abercrombie & Fitch lower, while an upgrade of Urban Outfitters boosted that retailer's shares. Bank of America shares gained ground after Citigroup analysts upgraded the stock to a buy from neutral. While most stocks were lower Thursday, gold started off on a strong note, rising almost 2%. The precious metal fell 28% in 2013, marking the first down year for gold prices since 2000. As gold priced advanced, shares of Newmont Mining and other gold miners surged Economic data in the United States wasn't all that positive. Manufacturing activity grew in December, but at a slightly slower pace than the previous month, according to the Institute for Supply Management's index. Initial jobless claims fell for a second straight week but came in slightly higher than expectations. Trading volume will likely remain light as many traders are still away for the holidays. Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries gained strength, lowering yields to 2.99% from Tuesday's 3.03%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices sank $2.78 to $95.64 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices muscled up $21.70 to $1,224 U.S. an ounce.
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