TSX Holds Own Friday Noon

Rogers, Financials Offset Data Effect

Canada's main stock index retained what little gains it had amassed by midday on Friday as gains in financial companies and Rogers Communications offset declines in energy stocks and lower-than-expected domestic inflation data.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index repaired 28.08 points from Thursday’s negative reading, to move into Friday’s noon hour at 15,482.50

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.4 cents to 78.56 cents U.S.

Rogers shares jumped 5.3% and was the biggest percentage gainer on the TSX after at least two brokerages raised their price target on the stock.

Among energy concerns, Enbridge was down 37 cents to $40.12, Canadian Natural Resources fell 71 cents, 1.6%, to $44.90

Oil prices fell after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and said oil prices were artificially high.

Advantage Oil & Gas fell 18 cents, or 4.4%, to $3.90 and was the largest decliner on the index after the oil and gas producer lowered its second-quarter natural gas production forecast.

Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Baytex Energy and Crescent Point Energy.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that retail trade increased 0.4% in February to $49.8 billion, mostly due to higher sales at new car dealers and general merchandise stores.

The Consumer Price Index rose 2.3% on a year-over-year basis in March, following a 2.2% increase in February. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index was up 0.1% in March, after increasing 0.2% in February.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange regained 0.27 points to 802.37

The 12 TSX subgroups were split evenly, with telecoms soaring 2.6%, while consumer discretionary and financial issues each picking up 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by energy, acting 0.7% less energetically, while health-care and materials each doffed 0.2%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks slipped on Friday as a decline in Apple pushed the technology sector lower. A rise in interest rates also kept a lid on equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 182.27 points to 24,482.62, with Apple as the worst-performing stock in the index.

The S&P 500 lost 19.87 points to 2,673.26, with tech sliding 1.3%. The index also broke below its 50-day moving average, a key technical indicator.

The NASDAQ Composite index docked 79.61 points, or 1.1%, to 7,158.45

Apple shares fell more than 3% after Morgan Stanley said the company's iPhone sales for the June quarter will disappoint Wall Street. The stock had already fallen more than 1% for the week heading into Friday's session.

The decline in Apple offset a 4% gain in General Electric. The industrial giant reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations and reaffirmed its outlook for the rest of 2018. Honeywell also posted stronger-than-expected earnings on Friday. Its stock rose 1.4%

About 16% of the S&P 500 has released its quarterly results, with 81.5% of those companies posting better-than-expected earnings. Next week will be the busiest week of the season, with more than a third of the S&P 500 set to report. Some of the companies scheduled to release their results include tech giants Alphabet, Intel and Microsoft.

In economic news, several members of the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee are scheduled to speak Friday, including San Francisco Fed President and Fed Governor Lael Brainard. Investors will look for clues on the central bank's next monetary policy moves.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped, raising yields to 2.93% from Thursday’s 2.91%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid 12 cents a barrel to $68.21 U.S.

Gold prices fell $8.80 to $1,340 U.S. an ounce.