TSX poised to end 2015 deep in the red

TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market was poised to settle deep in the red Thursday, closing out what has been one of its more tumultuous years in recent memory.

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In mid-afternoon trading, the S&P/TSX composite index was off 132.21 points at 13,010.08, marking the third consecutive day its been down since trading resumed Tuesday following the Christmas-Boxing Day holiday.

That left Canada's main index down 1,622.36 points -- or a loss of some 11 per cent -- from its close of 14,632.44 exactly a year ago.

"From an investment standpoint it was a year of avoiding Canada," said Cavan Yie, equity analyst of investments at Manulife Asset Management.

The loonie showed some measure of life, closing up 0.23 of a cent at 72.25 cents U.S. Still, that's well below where it finished 2014, when it was worth 86.2 cents U.S.

On commodity markets, the February contract for benchmark crude oil was up 95 cents at US$37.55 a barrel, while February natural gas rose 13 cents to US$2.34 per mmBtu.

Elsewhere in commodities, the February gold contract was unchanged at US$1,059.80 a troy ounce and March copper dropped by a penny to US$2.14 a pound.

Markets in New York also looked to finish the year on a weak note. The Dow Jones average was down 74.51 points at 17,529.36, while the S&P 500 fell 7.47 points to 2,055.89 and the Nasdaq lost 26.48 points to 5039.36.

The modest losses in afternoon trading Thursday nudged the S&P 500 index back into the red for the year, with 2015 shaping up to be the worst year for that market since 2011.

With dividends included, the S&P 500 was on track for a total return of 2.4 per cent for the year, down from 13.7 per cent last year. The Nasdaq is up some 6.4 per cent for the year, while the Dow is on track to end 2015 with a loss of 1.7 per cent.

"It's a lousy end to a pretty lousy year. A very unrewarding year," Edward Campbell, portfolio manager for QMA, a unit of Prudential Investment Management, told The Associated Press.

In European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.5 per cent, putting it down 4.9 per cent for the year. France's CAC-40 slipped 0.9 per cent Thursday, but was up 8.5 per cent on the year. Germany's main stock market was closed Thursday for the holiday but ended the year with a 9.6 per cent gain.



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