Monday, July 18, 2011

Stocks fall on U.S., Europe debt woes

Stock markets fell on Monday as concerns over debt crises in the United States and Europe weighed on oil prices while boosting gold.

Toronto’s benchmark index, the S&P/TSX composite, was down 15.90 points, or 0.12%, to 13,283.64 — led lower by oil and financials shares.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 55.21 points, or 0.44%, to 12,424.52. The Nasdaq composite index lost 11.58 points, or 0.42%, to 2,778.22 as the deadline for a U.S. debt agreement approached with lawmakers appearing to be no closer to an agreement.

Gold futures jumped to US$1,598.50 an ounces early Monday from Friday’s close of US$1,590.10.

Oil futures, however, continued to fall — trading at $96.26 US a barrel, down from the previous finish of US$97.24.

The Canadian dollar was trading around US$1.0434, down from $1.0479 US cents on Friday.

“Gold is one exception (to the downturn), which has now topped the $1,600 mark as investors seek a safe haven amid ongoing sovereign debt concerns and no resolution as of yet on the U.S. debt limit,” said BMO Capital Markets economist Robert Kavcic.

Overseas markets were lower on Monday as investors continued to fret over debt problems in Greece and Italy, which were not eased by the failure of eight European banks to pass long-awaited stress tests last week. (more)