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BlackBerry weighs down TSX

The Toronto stock market was lower Thursday, weighed down by U.S. economic concerns and uncertainty over how BlackBerry's new smartphones will be received by consumers.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 64.78 points to 12,729.66 while the TSX Venture Exchange slipped 1.44 points to 1,220.91.

The company formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) again weighed on the TSX, a day after the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 product lineup. Its stock was down a further $1.01 or 7.3 per cent to $12.85 on the TSX after tumbling almost 12 per cent Wednesday.

Availability is an issue as analysts note that U.S. customers won't be able to get the BlackBerry Z10 until March, a month later than it's available in Canada.

In recent weeks, RIM stock had soared 200 per cent from its 52-week low of $6.10 of last September in anticipation over the new product, seen as a make or break effort by the company. RIM's BlackBerry has lost market share to Apple's iPhone and the Galaxy brand of smartphones from Samsung.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.08 of a cent to 99.93 cents US after Statistics Canada reported gross domestic product grew by 0.3 per cent during November, better than the 0.2 per cent reading that had been expected. Year over year, GDP was ahead by 1.3 per cent.

U.S. markets were mainly higher a day after data showed the U.S. economy stalled late last year, shrinking at an annual rate of 0.1 per cent from October through December for the first time since the recession ended.

The negative reading raised doubts about the sustainability of a rally that has seen the Dow industrials surge 6.3 per cent since the start of the year, climbing close to 14,000 and within touching distance of its record level.

The Dow Jones industrials were ahead 21.07 points to 13,931.49, the Nasdaq gained 9.15 points to 3,151.45 while the S&P 500 index edged 0.12 of a point lower to 1,501.84.

Traders also considered data showing that U.S. consumer spending rose 0.2 per cent last month, which was slightly slower than the 0.4 per cent increase in November.

Income jumped 2.6 per cent in December from November as companies accelerated dividend payments to beat the January rise in income tax rates. It was the biggest gain since December 2004.

And a day before the release of the U.S. employment report for January, the Labour Department said weekly applications for unemployment benefits leapt 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000. The increase comes after applications plummeted in the previous two weeks to five-year lows.

The Canadian Press

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