Canada’s Minister of Labour urges vigilance during the launch of Fire Prevention Week
government shutdown dragged into a third day, offsetting positive economic data from China and weighing on most major sectors. Investors also had an eye on BlackBerry, which is the focus of a $4.7 billion bid from a consortium led by Fairfax Financial. Data showed rising demand caused activity in China’s services sector to expand at the fastest pace in six months in September but failed to lift sentiment. The focus of the market remained the U.S. government shutdown, which highlighted the political gridlock in Washington over the debt crisis and the uncertainty investors are facing as no immediate resolution seemed in sight. “Who knows what’s going to happen or how long it’s going to drag out,” said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities. “You just stay away and do nothing, and have a little cash on the side.” Investor confidence in Canada and the United States has taken a beating, he said, adding that the uncertainty could drag on until the end of the month. Volumes on the benchmark Canadian index were sluggish. About 56 million shares changed hands on Thursday at mid-morning, compared with an average daily volume of 304 million shares in September, according to market operator TMX Group. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 49.74 points, or 0.39 percent, at 12,789.26. The TSX could lose ground before the end of the year due to the U.S. debt and budget troubles, Masionis said.
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