Stocks Sustain Weekly Losses

Vermilion, Osisko in Focus

Equities in Toronto did their best before Friday’s closing bell to minimize losses on the day and week, but too much weakness in the energy sector made positive movement difficult

The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 70.29 points to end Friday at 17,845.91. The loss on the last five sessions was 63 points, or 0.35%

The Canadian dollar subsided 0.47 cents to 78.59 cents U.S.

Energy wore the heaviest weights of the losing subgroups Friday, with Vermilion Energy sliding 40 cents, or 5.6%, to $6.77, while Crescent Point Energy weakened 18 cents, or 4.5%, to $3.81.

In other resource stocks Osisko Mining gave back 10 cents, or 3.1%, to $3.15, while Previum Resources surrendered 33 cents, or 2.5%, to $13.42.

Golds also had a rough time of it, as Centerra Gold handed back 34 cents, or 2.4%, to $13.89, while OceanaGold dished off four cents, or 1.7%, to $2.34.

Tech stocks tried to balance things out, with Sierra Wireless aiming for the stratosphere, $4.44, or 19.1%, to $27.75, while BlackBerry was mightier by $1.63, or 10.1%, to $17.80.

Utilities also moved upward, Capital Power taking on 90 cents, or 2.5%, to $37.30, while Transalta Renewables picked up 50 cents, or 2.3%, to $22.59.

In the health-care field, Aphria gained 38 cents, or 2.4%, to $16.41, while Canopy Growth hiked 51 cents, or 1.2%, to $42.84.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported retail sales took off at their fastest pace since September, up 1.3% to $55.2 billion in November, the seventh consecutive monthly gain.

The agency says the increase was led by higher sales at food and beverage stores, along with an uptick in e-commerce sales.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange shook off early losses and propelled itself higher 8.22 points to close out Friday at 947.43. The Venture gained on the week 49 points, or 5.48%.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups fell Friday, with energy plummeting 1.9%, while materials and gold each dipped 0.3%.

The four gainers were led by information technology, up 0.9%, while utilities improved 0.6%, and health-care was haler 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 fell slightly on Friday, retreating from record levels, while the strength in major technology names pushed the NASDAQ to another all-time high.

The Dow Jones Industrials decreased 179.03 points to 30,996.98

The S&P 500 slid 11.6 points from Thursday’s all-time high to 3,841.47.

The NASDAQ eked higher 12.15 points on top of Thursday’s all-time high to 13,543.06, supported by gains in Microsoft and Facebook.

Dow-component IBM dropped 9.9% after the company reported fourth-quarter sales below analysts’ expectations. Revenue fell 6% on an annualized basis, the fourth consecutive quarter of declines. Intel shares retreated 9.3% following a 6% pop on Thursday after it released better-than-expected earnings.

Hopes for a robust earnings season from the country’s largest communications and tech companies have kept the mega-cap stocks trending upward, and the major indexes near records, during the holiday-shortened week.

Apple rose another 1.6% Friday, bringing its weekly gain to 9.4%. Facebook climbed 9.2% and Microsoft rallied 6.3% this week. These big tech companies are scheduled to report earnings next week. A growing number of Republicans have expressed doubts over the need for another stimulus bill, especially one with a price tag of $1.9 trillion proposed by Biden.

Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has criticized the size of the latest round of proposed stimulus checks. Dissent from either party carries weight for Biden, who took office with a slim majority in Congress.

Meanwhile, the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as Biden’s Treasury Secretary Friday. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to lead the department.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were higher, weighing yields to 1.09% from at Thursday’s 1.10%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices swooned $1.05 to $52.08 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices skidded $13.10 to $1,852.80 U.S. an ounce.