Canadian stocks ended lower on Monday as concerns about stalled talks over the U.S. federal budget continued to capture investor's attention ahead of the Christmas holiday.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite index dropped 14.90 points, or 0.12 percent, to 12,370.80 in a shortened trading session that ended at 1 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) while the S&P/TSX Venture Composite index rose 7.89 points, or 0.67 percent, to 1,185.60.
While fiscal cliff remains an overarching concern for investors, trading volumes were low with both Canadian and U.S. equity markets closed early at 1 p.m. local time ahead of Tuesday's Christmas holiday. Canadian markets will close for two days and re- open on Thursday, Dec. 27.
As U.S. politicians postponed their talks until after Christmas, investors feared that the U.S. economy could be pushed into a recession because of the so-called fiscal cliff.
Five of the eight sectors on the main index were lower before the Christmas Eve.
The metals and mining sector lost 0.5 percent with the March copper price slipped 0.4 percent to 3.55 U.S. dollars a pound.
The energy sector closed down 0.66 percent as concerns about the unresolved U.S. budget dispute weighed on world oil prices. Suncor Energy dropped 0.55 percent to 32.47 Canadian dollars a share, playing one of the biggest roles in dragging this sector lower.
The tech sector dropped 0.5 percent, with shares in BlackBerry maker RIM down 3.3 percent at 10.50 Canadian dollars apiece. The financial sector closed little changed, up 0.03 percent.
In currency, the Canadian dollar increased to trade at 1.0073 U. S. dollars at 1 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) on Monday, compared with 1.0071 U.S. dollar last Friday.