The Toronto stock market backed off slightly on Friday morning as key commodity prices weakened.The S&P/TSX composite index moved down 14.89 points to 12,584.85 while the TSX Venture Exchange slid 0.97 points at 1,239.11.The Canadian dollar rose 0.30 of a cent to 101.87 cents US, after Statistics Canada reported that the country’s trade deficit with the world jumped to $2 billion in November. That’s an increase from $552 million in October as merchandise imports rose 2.7 per cent and exports fell 0.9 per cent.In commodities, oil prices fell back to near US$93 a barrel after China’s inflation rose to levels that could affect the country’s growth. February crude was down 83 cents to $92.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Gold prices backtracked with the February contract down $14.80 to US$1,663.40 an ounce.In New York, the Dow Jones industrials were off 15.36 points to 13,455.86, the Nasdaq was 1.10 points higher at 3,122.86 and the S&P 500 index gave back 1.02 points to 1,471.10.The Commerce Department said that the U.S. trade gap widened 15.8 per cent in November to its widest point in seven months. The deficit was grew to $48.7 billion.In earnings, Wells Fargo, the biggest mortgage lender in the U.S., earned a record $4.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 25 per cent from the same period a year before. Revenue rose 7 per cent, to $21.9 billion.In Canada, PetroBakken Energy Ltd. (TSX:PBN) said it has budgeted $675 million for capital projects this year, with a focus on growing production from the Cardium formation in Alberta. Shares of the company were down 48 cents to $9.81.European countries are also facing their own uphill battle to restore economic growth. The economy of the 17 European Union nations that use the euro is in recession, and unemployment is soaring across the region.In France, the CAC-40 fell 0.2 per cent to 3,696, while Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2 per cent to 7,710. The FTSE index of leading British shares rose 0.2 per cent at 6,111.Earlier in the day, the Nikkei closed 1.4 per cent higher at 10,801.57.But not all Asian markets rallied, hemmed in by concerns about inflation in China. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.4 per cent to 23,264.07. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.5 per cent to 1,996.67. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 per cent to 4,709.50.Benchmarks in Singapore and mainland China also fell while those in the Philippines and New Zealand rose.
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