North American stocks close higher as loonie drops and commodities slide
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market was higher Tuesday on a day marked by volatility and a sell-off in commodities.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 30.93 points at 14,624.50 after falling more than 200 points earlier in the session.Stocks in New York also rebounded after opening the day with significant losses.The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 93.33 points at 17,776.91 after being down more than 200 points, while the Nasdaq rose 5.52 points to 4,997.46 after earlier shedding more than 90 points. The S&P 500 finished 12.58 points higher at 2,081.34 after sliding nearly 25 points in early trading.Sunday’s “no” vote in the Greek debt referendum plunged the country’s future in the euro into uncertainty, yet investors are now adjusting their expectations on the fallout in world financial markets, according to Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer for Sun Life Global Investments.“People realized around the same time that whatever happens with Greece, it’s still a really small economy,” he said. “You’ve still got to worry about the rest of the world and there could be opportunity there.” Commodities were hit hard, with oil, gold, and copper all losing value.The August contract for benchmark crude ended the day down 20 cents at US$52.33 a barrel.“People are starting to realize that supply hasn’t diminished, it’s actually gone up since we hit $44 oil in January,” Adatia said. “The next step is down rather than up for oil prices.”The August gold contract was down $20.60 at US$1,154.30 an ounce, while September copper fell 9.15 cents to US$2.45 a pound, reaching levels not seen since January.The loonie slid 0.37 of a US cent to end the day at 78.67 cents, its sixth consecutive day of losses against the greenback.In the face of the Greek crisis, Adatia said, investors have become risk averse and are flocking to the safety of the American currency, pushing up its value relative to the Canadian dollar.The loonie has also been under pressure from speculation that the Bank of Canada will cut its trend-setting interest rate next Wednesday.Much of that has come from economic reports indicating that Canada may be in a recession — defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth.Statistics Canada added more fuel to the fire Tuesday when it reported that Canada’s merchandise trade deficit rose to $3.34 billion in May from $3.0 billion in April, a gap that was much higher than the consensus estimate of $2.5 billion.Trade figures showed that exports declined 0.6 per cent in May to $42 billion, while imports edged up 0.2 per cent to $45.3 billion.