TORONTO – The Toronto Stock Exchange finished lower Thursday after see-sawing most of the day as investor sentiment buoyed by higher commodity prices was finally overcome by concerns over renewed conflict in the Middle East.The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 59.57 points at 14,869.80, adding to a triple-digit plunge on Wednesday. The Canadian dollar rose 0.30 of a U.S. cent to 80.19 cents.U.S. markets also finished in the red after going into a tailspin Wednesday amid reports that a Saudi-led coalition was taking military action against rebel positions in neighbouring Yemen.Saudi Arabia has launched air strikes to oust Yemen’s Houthi rebels who forced the country’s embattled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to flee. The Saudis accuse Iran of backing the Houthis to destabilize the region and has the support of several regional powers, including Egypt and Jordan.Although not a major oil producer itself, Yemen sits astride straits that join the Red Sea and the Suez Canal with the Arabian Sea, an important energy trade route.“This situation, while currently playing out in Yemen, has broader implications for the region and that’s why the geo-political risk is higher than just looking at Yemen in isolation and why the reaction has probably been a little bit (strong),” said Gareth Watson, vice-president, investment management and research, Richardson GMP Ltd.“This just leads to further instability in the region and a continuation of that ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” Watson said, adding that while the conflict is not going to go away any time soon “we’ve probably seen the biggest component of the initial reaction to it.”The May oil contract closed up $2.22 at US$51.43 a barrel, the fifth consecutive increase, and the energy sector rose 0.39 per cent, one of only three sectors in positive territory along with information technology and health-care.April gold advanced $7.80 to US$1,204.80 an ounce, but the sector was down 1.89 per cent, making it the worst performing sector in Toronto.In New York, the Dow Jones Industrials fell 40.31 points to 17,678.23, while the Nasdaq lost 13.16 point to 4,863.36. The S&P 500 dropped 4.90 points to 2,056.15.In economic news, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz defended his surprise January decision to cut the Bank of Canada’s key interest rate, telling an audience in London that it was needed to counter the stunning speed and magnitude of the drop in oil prices to levels less than half those of a year ago.Since then they have stabilized in a range “reasonably close” to the bank’s January predictions. “This made us feel increasingly comfortable with the amount of insurance we had already taken out,” he said, explaining why the bank decided to hold the rate steady earlier this month. The central bank’s next rate announcement comes April 15.On the corporate earnings front, Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq:LULU) reported a slight increase in fourth-quarter earnings compared with a year ago amid a 16 per cent spike in sales. It also offered an encouraging outlook for 2015 and its shares shot up $3.01 or 4.93 per cent to US$63.97 on the Nasdaq. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Hugh McKenna, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 26, 2015 5:00 am MDT TSX closes in the red as conflict in Yemen offsets higher commodity prices
Star Wars fans have defied warnings they were breaching God’s law by attending the first film to be shown in a public cinema on the Isle of Lewis on a Sunday.All 183 tickets were sold for the showing of The Last Jedi, the latest instalment of the space saga, at the An Lanntair arts venue in Stornoway. Others attended a workshop which involved building a model Death Star.Two protestors turned out at the cinema, with a woman holding a placard urging the cinema-goers to keep Sundays holy on the Sabbatarian isle off the west of Scotland.The other protestor, the Rev. David Fraser of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), argued that they should “repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.”David Green, the chairman of the venue’s board, said some staff had faced pressure from their families over the move but argued that no one should be able to dictate to others “what they can and what they cannot do.”The island was traditionally staunchly Presbyterian and its observance of the Sabbath was so strict there was a time when play park swings were chained up at dusk on Saturdays.This has been diluted in recent years with the first commercial flight landing at Stornoway airport in 2002 and the island’s ferries operating on Sundays since 2009, despite fierce protests. Elly Fletcher, the chief executive of the An Lanntair arts venueCredit:Western Isles News Agency An Lanntair has Lewis’s only cinema and will open on the last Sunday of the month until March as a trial. More than half the tickets for next month’s Sunday film, the Pixar animation Coco, have already been sold.The venue conducted a survey showing a “significant majority” back the change but the Rev Fraser, 78, said: “This is a serious breach of God’s law.”The Sabbath is to be kept holy – people are forgetting about higher things and going against the the Christian tradition of our island heritage and culture. There should be freedom of choice within the limits of respect of the religion and culture here.”He added: “We are making our convictions clear – we are not trying to block people going in, but making clear what we believe in and that they should be seeking their own salvation and God’s ways. Spending Sunday in a cinema is not God’s way.” But Mr Green said: “We have been really careful to do this in the least disruptive or offensive way. It is about a quiet afternoon for families. How we continue, and if we continue, with this will be decided at the end of the trial.”The only regret I have is that some members of staff have been put under pressure over this – some have family members who have objections for cultural or religious reasons. But no member of staff has been forced to work on a Sunday.”Hereward Proops, 37, a therapist who attended the showing with his two children, said: “I think it’s fantastic. If people don’t want to go to church they should be allowed to go to the cinema. I think quite a lot of people to want this to happen.””Nobody is going to stop people observing the Sabbath. I cannot understand why people cannot accept choice. Live and let live, I say.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Campaigners have raised the funds for a trial opening but leisure facilities, including a swimming pool and sports centre, remain closed on Sundays in observance of the Sabbath.Teeing off on Sundays is banned at the Stornoway Golf Club under a historic clause in the lease with community landlord, although a recent survey showed overwhelming support for it to be allowed.