Equities Sink by Noon

Canada Goose Still Flies High


Stocks in Canada’s biggest market turned negative in mid-morning trading on Friday, as losses among financial and consumer shares outweighed gains for some gold miners and other natural resource companies from an uptick in commodity prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index approached noon Friday down 10.64 points to 15,551.77

The Canadian dollar slumped 0.25 cents to 74.80 cents U.S.

The heavyweight financials group slipped as bond yields fell, with insurance companies a particular weight. Manulife Financial was down 0.9% at $24.28, and Great-West Lifeco lost 0.8% to $37.43.

The most influential gainers on the index included Suncor Energy, which edged up 0.5% to $41.18.

Two of the biggest Canadian telecom companies also supported the index, with BCE advancing 1% to $58.17, and rival Rogers Communications Inc adding 1.2% to $57.25.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was barely lower.

Dominion Diamond jumped 9.3% to $12.86 after providing a 2018 outlook late on Thursday.

Canada Goose Holdings advanced 8.2% to $23.29 the day after it jumped nearly 27% from its initial public offering price of $17 per share.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales rose for the third consecutive month, up 0.6% to $53.8 billion in January.

The agency went on to attribute the gain to a 2.3% increase in non-durable goods sales, led by the petroleum and coal, and chemical industries.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange moved lower 2.45 points to 808.47

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were still in the green, with telecoms climbing 0.7%, utilities up 0.4%, and industrials stronger 0.3%.

The four laggards were weighed most by health-care, sicker by 1%, financials, down 0.3%, and gold, duller by 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range Friday as declines in financial and health care stocks countered gains in real estate and utilities sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrials moved into the red 3.68 points to 20,930.87. McDonald's contributed the most to gains, while IBM had the greatest negative impact.

The S&P 500 doffed 0.27 points to 2,381.11. Materials led nine sectors higher, while financials and health care were the only decliners.

The NASDAQ squeezed 0.17 points higher to 5,900.93. Amgen shares fell more than 6% after disappointing results from its latest cholesterol-lowering drug.

The third Friday of every March, June, September, and December is the day of quadruple "witching," the expiration of three related classes of options and futures contracts, along with individual stock futures options. Friday is also St. Patrick's Day.

On the data front, industrial production came in unchanged for February. Capacity utilization edged 0.1% lower to 75.4%.

The University of Michigan preliminary read on consumer sentiment for March was 97.6.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained slightly, lowering yields to 2.49% from Thursday’s 2.53%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices sank four cents to $48.71 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices gained $2.40 to $1,229.50 U.S. an ounce.