Stocks Limp into Weekend

Health-Care, Gold Weigh on Market


Equity markets in Canada’s largest centre ended the week on a down note, as losses in the health-care field overcame advances by telecoms and utilities.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index surrendered 71.92 points to end the day and the week at 15,490.49

The Canadian dollar staged a small recovery, but still finished the day off 0.09 cents to 74.98 cents U.S.

Health-care took the brunt of the losses, as Valeant Pharmaceuticals ended a bruising week by sliding 31 cents, or 2.1%, to $14.72, while Canopy Growth Corporation stumbled 42 cents, or 3.8%, to $10.66.

In gold, another losing subgroup, Barrick Gold dipped seven cents to $25.14, while Agnico Eagle Mines slipped six cents to $20.43.

Among materials, Teck Resources went south 59 cents, or 2.1%, to $28.25, while First Quantum Minerals skidded 20 cents, or 1.4%, to $14.41.

Telecoms tried to even things out, with gains by BCE of 73 cents, or 1.3%, to $58.30, while Shaw Communications took on four cents to $27.49.

In the utilities field, Fortis Inc. gathered 20 cents to $42.84, while Capital Power picked up a penny to $25.60.

Canada Goose Holdings advanced $1.47, or 6.8%, to $23.00 the day after it jumped nearly 27% from its initial public offering price of $17.00 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 0.31 points Friday to 810.61

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were in the red by the close, as health-care ailed 1.5%, gold subsided 0.9%, and materials let go of 0.8%.

The five gainers were led by telecoms, up 0.7%, utilities, ahead 0.3%, and industrials, stronger by 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks were stuck in a range Friday as gains in utilities and industrials stocks countered declines in financial and health-care stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 19.93 points to 20,914.62. Boeing and 3M contributed the most to gains, while Goldman Sachs had the greatest negative impact.

The S&P 500 doffed 3.13 points to 2,378.25. Utilities led nine sectors higher, while financials and health-care were the only two decliners.

The NASDAQ squeezed 0.24 points higher to 5,901, helped by gains in shares of Microsoft, Adobe and Starbucks.

Moreover, 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 was 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 2.5% from Thursday’s 2.53%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices sank three cents to $48.72 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices gained $1.40 to $1,228.50 U.S. an ounce.