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TSX closes lowers as oil falls, Greek talks continue

Investors await the annual tweaks to the makeup of Russell stock indexes that may produce a rush of transactions worth over $40 billion in the final moments of trading on Friday.

TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed lower Friday as oil prices weakened and concerns intensified within the Greek debt crisis in front of a key meeting a few days ago.
The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 89.41 suggests 14,808.09 as the loonie rose 0.05 of a U.S. cent to 81.20 cents.

Markets everywhere anticipated developments over the weekend in the negotiations between Greece and its creditors. An urgent situation meeting from the eurozone\’s 19 finance ministers was scheduled for Saturday amid reports of further concessions by Athens in hopes of getting emergency bailout loans.

Failure to have a deal will probably mean a default by Greece on a 1.6-billion-euro payment owned to the International Monetary Fund . A default could force Greece to leave the euro, the so-called Grexit, and perhaps the European Union too.

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\”If Greece really is removed the rails and doesn\’t get an agreement, then volatility will creep back in,\” said Michael Greenberg, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Solutions.

\”We\’re a little worried that contagion of sentiment will reach our shores.\”

In Ny, the Dow Jones industrial average began reversing two days of losses that saw the widely watched index fall more than 250 points as traders reacted to Greek debt woes and possible interest rate increases later this season by the U.S. Fed.

The Dow finished ahead 56.66 points at 17,947.02.

However, the tech-heavy Nasdaq continued its three-day slide since hitting an all-time record high close of 5,160.09 on Tuesday, falling 31.68 points to 5,080.51. The S&P 500 dipped 0.70 of the point to 2,101.61.

In commodities, the August crude contract eased off seven cents to US$59.63 a barrel, not far off last Friday\’s settlement price. August gold rose $1.40 to US$1,173.20 an oz, but which was well underneath the $1,201.90 an oz where it started the week.

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In economic news, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index rose to 96.One in June from 90.7 in May, its highest reading because the index hit 98.1 in January or more from 82.5 last year.

The latest reading shows that in the first six months of the year U.S. consumer optimism has improved at the fastest pace since 2004.

Next week is a shortened week for markets on sides from the border, with the Toronto Stock market closed Wednesday for Canada Day. U.S. markets will not trade on Friday in advance of the July 4th Independence Day holiday, which falls on Saturday this year.

Major economic news next week includes economic growth figures for April from Statistics Canada as well auto sales figures for June from Canadian automakers on Thursday.

In the United States, auto sales figures is going to be released Wednesday, while on Thursday traders will even look to U.S. employment numbers and jobless claims along with a report on factory orders.