TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market opened lower, as commodity prices fell and the U.S. sent a small contingent of troops to secure its assets in Iraq, a key global supplier of oil.
The S&P/TSX composite index lost 29.08 points to 15,011.35, while the Canadian dollar dipped 0.20 of a cent to 92.04 cents US.
In Iraq, about 300 U.S. soldiers are being positioned in and around Iraq to protect the U.S. Embassy and other American interests as President Barack Obama weighs options for dealing with the al-Qaida inspired militants who have captured a vast swath of the country's north. Iraq's crude oil exports have so far not been disrupted, but the conflict raises concern about whether the country can rebuild its oil infrastructure and meet global demand.
The July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 30 cents to US$106.60 barrel. August bullion was down $9.90 to US$1,265.5 an ounce and July copper was unchanged at US$3.05 a pound.
Meanwhile, it's expected that Ottawa will release its long-awaited decision on Enbridge Inc.'s (TSX: T.ENB, Stock Forum) Northern Gateway pipeline after the markets close. The $7 billion, 1,200 kilometre pipeline would link Alberta oilsands to a terminal in Kitimat on the British Columbia coast for shipment overseas.
The project has already received approval from a joint panel of the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency but faces stiff opposition from many First Nations, who have threatened court challenges if the project gets the green light.
Markets are also looking to the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, where the central bank is expected to deliver its economic outlook and decide whether it will continue to dial back massive bond purchases. U.S. indexes all fell, with the Dow Jones industrials down 33.72 points to 16,747.29, the Nasdaq declined 7.59 points to 4,313.52 and the S&P 500 futures lost 3.60 to 1,934.18.