Toronto stock index falls on down day led by technology sector stumble

TORONTO – Weakness in technology stocks and commodity prices brought Canada’s main stock index down Friday.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed off 61.78 points at 16,393.95.

“There are not a lot of strengths in the market today,” said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment analyst at TD Wealth.

“In Toronto, the technology sector is getting particularly hard hit. Constellation Software missed its estimates and is down over eight per cent today and a couple of big names, like Shopify and BlackBerry, are also down today. So that’s been the biggest drag on the TSX.”

He said bright spots on the market were few but included transport firm TFI International, up on strong quarterly results.

The Canadian dollar averaged 76.56 cents US, up 0.02 of a US cent from Thursday’s average value of 76.54 cents US, while the September crude contract fell 92 cents to US$68.69 per barrel and the September natural gas contract rose two cents to US$2.78 per mmBTU.

“It is a bit of a shocker in the sense that you have oil down a dollar today and the U.S. government came out with really strong economic data,” said Currie.

“Both of those things usually work against the Canadian dollar … so I guess that’s a very good sign for the loonie.”

He suggested that unease related to trade tensions and the stalled North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations are beginning to lift, allowing more optimism about Canada among market participants.

A steep drop in Facebook pulled technology stocks lower on Wall Street, even as other sectors climbed in response to a report that the U.S. economy surged in the April-June quarter to an annual growth rate of 4.1 per cent, the fastest pace since 2014.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 76.01 points to 25,451.06,

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