Canada Markets closed

Stocks Flat by Friday Close

Baystreet.ca
Equity indexes in Canada’s largest market were pretty much unchanged by Friday’s closing bell, as ...


Equity indexes in Canada’s largest market were pretty much unchanged by Friday’s closing bell, as tech and consumer discretionary stock losses were just about counter-balanced by big gains in the health-care sector.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index enjoyed narrow gains of 4.7 points to close the day and the week at 15,273.97

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.09 cents to 79.34 cents U.S.

Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume was Aurora Cannabis, gaining 70 cents, or 8.7%, to $8.74, and Aphria Inc., climbing $1.60, or 16.1%, to $11.52.

IAMGOLD Corp rose 39 cents, or 5.9%, to $7.04, and was among the largest percentage gainers on the TSX. Barrick Gold, up 45 cents, or 2.8%, to $16.62.

The heavyweight energy group rose, led by Canadian Natural Resources, up 87 cents, or 2%, to $44.31, while Encana Corp. vaulted 57 cents, or 3.9%, to $15.29.

Tech stocks proved the biggest drag on the markets, as BlackBerry sagged four cents to $13.25, and Firan Technology Group slid 14 cents, or 5.5%, to $2.41.

Consumer discretionary issues also faltered, as Canadian Tire lost $1.03 to $168.17, and Magna International lost 63 cents to $75.58.

Financials also skidded, as IGM Financial dipped two cents to $36.72, while Royal Bank of Canada fell 68 cents to $96.08.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange advanced 13.57 points, or 1.7%, to 795.94

The 12 TSX subgroups were split down the middle, with health-care leaping 4.8%, gold up 2.2%, and energy, advancing 1.1%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed by information technology, down 1%, consumer discretionary stocks, off 0.7%, and financials, down 0.6%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell on Friday as several banking companies weighed down the major indexes on the final day of an otherwise strong week for equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 122.91 points to 24,360.14, with J.P. Morgan Chase as the worst-performing stock in the index.

The S&P 500 declined 7.69 points to 2,656.30, as financials dropped 1.6%.

The NASDAQ Composite index fell 33.6 points to 7,106.65

Despite Friday's decline, the major averages posted strong gains for the week. The Dow rose 1.8% and S&P 500 rose 2% this week, while the NASDAQ advanced 2.8%.

Citigroup, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase all reported quarterly earnings and revenue that surpassed analyst expectations. Bank shares initially traded higher before falling, as the strong results were already priced in.

Expectations for this earnings season are high, especially for financials. S&P 500 earnings are forecast to have grown by 17.1% last quarter. Financials, meanwhile, are expected to see earnings increase by 24%.

Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are all scheduled to report next week.

Markets have been on edge in recent days after President Donald Trump appeared to criticize the Kremlin for its supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, following a suspected chemical attack last weekend.

Concerns about a trade war with China are also lingering. The Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials familiar with the matter, that the Trump administration is planning to ratchet up the trade pressure on China through new tariffs and by threatening to block Chinese technology investment in the United States.

In economic news, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index ticked down to 97.8 in April from 101.4 in March.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained slightly, weighing yields to 2.83% from Thursday’s 2.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices strengthened 19 cents a barrel to $67.26 U.S.

Gold prices added $5.50 to $1,347.40 U.S. an ounce.