Gold, health-care weigh on TSX

Vermilion in focus

Canada's main stock index opened nearly flat on Friday, as falling gold prices weighed on the material sector and offset gains in energy stocks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index backed off 17.59 points from Thursday’s all-time high to 16,549.83

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.13 cents at 75.81 cents U.S.

Sun Life Financial recently started covering medical marijuana in its Canadian health insurance plan - more than 17 years after the country first legalized it.

Sun Life settled 20 cents to $53.06

CIBC raised the price target on IGM Financial to $48.00 from $45.00. IGM acquired 24 cents to $38.91

JP Morgan raised the target price on Vermilion Energy to $63.00 from $49.00. Vermilion shares gave back 67 cents, or 1.4%, to $48.26.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 2.49 points to 726.48.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower in Friday’s first hour, as gold slid 0.5%, health-care dropped 0.4%, and financials were poorer by 0.3%.

The five gainers were led by energy, adding 0.3%, telecoms, picking up 0.2%, and real-estate, inching up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

The major stock indexes opened along the flat line on Friday after some of the largest U.S. banks reported mixed quarterly results.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 22.95 points to start Friday at 24,947.84, with 3M outperforming and McDonald's lagging.

The S&P 500 faded 0.58 points to 2,797.71, as financials and telecom lagged

The NASDAQ added 4.85 points to Thursday’s all-time high at 7,828.67

J.P. Morgan Chase posted better-than-expected earnings and sales, as its trading revenue rose 13% in the second quarter on a year-over-year basis. Citigroup, meanwhile, posted a stronger-than-expected profit but its revenue for the quarter missed. J.P. Morgan Chase rose slightly, while Citigroup dropped more than 1%.

Wells Fargo’s earnings and revenue both missed as its fake-account scandal is still taking a toll on the company. The bank also said a tax hit of $481 million also pressured the results. Shares of Wells Fargo fell 3%.

Just over 5% of S&P 500 companies have reported second-quarter results thus far. These companies have posted earnings growth of 16.4%. However, analysts expect second-quarter earnings to have grown by 20%.

Stocks are on track to post strong weekly gains, with the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all up more than 1% in the time period.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury eased up, lowering yields to 2.84% from Thursday’s 2.85%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 21 cents to $70.54 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slipped $4.90 to $1,241.70 U.S. an ounce.