TSX closes up, Dow down as market volatility continues

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It was another volatile session on North American markets today, following two weeks that have led to an 11 per cent drop in the Toronto stock market and U.S. stocks declining eight per cent.



However, the S&P/TSX recovered from a steep, 200-point slide in early trading Thursday and turned positive at midday. 


The index closed up 183 points or 1.3 per cent at 14,071, recovering its losses from Wednesday. Even the battered energy sector recovered as the price of crude oil recovered.



The Canadian dollar was trading at 88.91 cents US, up slightly.



Data showing that Canadian manufacturing shipments fell 3.3 per cent during August to $52.1 billion weakened markets and initially pushed the loonie lower. Economists had expected a drop of 1.6 per cent.



Oil prices continued to be an uncertainty, with West Texas Intermediate crude contracts in New York closing at $82.70 US, up 92 cents, recovering from a brief dip below $80.



The $80 mark is a bit of a threshold for oil, and several economists predicted Thursday morning that it would not go much lower. OPEC may be reluctant to allow oil to sink much lower as a steep drop eats into government coffers and throws off regional economies.



In Canada, the energy index recovered by two per cent amid perceptions it might have been oversold in the past few days. Mining stocks also recovered, despite a report showing steep drops in commodity prices.


U.S. stock indexes have mostly recovered from a steep morning decline, bouncing upwards at midday and closing mixed.

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The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 24 points at 16, 117.24 and the S&P 500 was up 0.27 to 1,862.76. Investors were looking for bargains after three weeks of falling prices.



The Nasdaq was two points higher at 4,217.39 after being lower for most of the session.



The Netflix stock fell 22 per cent after it reported Wednesday evening that its subscriber growth was lower than expected. It also was hurt by reports of new streaming services from HBO and CBS.



North American markets have plunged this week on worries that Germany — Europe’s biggest economy  —  is not growing as quickly as it was last year.



There is a shadow over the entire Eurozone because of a new debt crisis in Greece and turmoil in bonds for Spain and Italy.



China’s growth also looks to have slowed, with Chinese companies on a pace to cut capital spending by around seven per cent this year.


In addition to worries about global growth, investors are anticipating an interest rate increase by the U.S. Fed, amid a general perception that markets have been overvalued.


“We’re getting a revaluation. The realization that the market was richly valued has finally hit home,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.


“In the near term, there’s still a little more downside,” he added. “The (Canadian) market could go lower before getting a bounce.”



MARKETS DOLLAR AND OIL

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