Markets Open Virtually Unchanged

Aphria Drops Sharply

Stocks in Canada’s biggest centre opened flat on Friday, as resources stocks and marijuana producers weighed, lumber companies bounced higher and an oil and gas explorer jumped after announcing a reduced capital spending plan.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 10.33 points to begin Friday’s session at 16,297.27

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.06 cents to 79.92 cents U.S.

BMO cut the rating on Birchcliff Energy to market perform from outperform. Birchcliff took on six cents, or 1.6%, to $3.73.

TD Securities cut the rating on Corus Entertainment to hold from buy. Corus subtracted 10 cents, or 1.1%, to $8.98.

Aphria Inc. tumbled in price $1.73, or 8.4%, to $18.82.

The TSX Venture Exchange lost 6.89 points to 882.62

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, with health-care staggering 2.3%, telecoms wavering 0.4%, and consumer staples 0.3% to the bad.

The half-dozen gainers were lifted most by gold, shining 0.9% brighter, while materials climbed 0.7%, and energy, taking on 0.6%.


Equities south of the border traded at record highs on Friday as investors bet on a strong corporate earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrials triumphed 142.21 points to open the week’s last session at 25,716.94

The S&P 500 acquired 8.2 points to 2,775.76, with energy as the best-performing sector.

The NASDAQ composite index gained 8.91 points to 7,220.69

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ have closed lower only once this year, while the Dow has fallen just twice. For 2018, the major averages were up at least 3.5% entering Friday's session.

J.P. Morgan Chase, BlackRock and Wells Fargo all reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

S&P 500 profits are expected to have risen 11.2% in the fourth quarter of last year. All 11 S&P 500 sectors, meanwhile, are expected to post increases in both earnings and revenue. This would be the first time since 2011 that all the sectors in the S&P 500 posted sales and profit growth for the same quarter.

Recent data suggests the stateside economy is picking up steam. The U.S. Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index excluding the volatile food and energy components rose 0.3% last month. That was the biggest advance in the so-called core CPI since January.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note faded, raising yields to 2.57% from Thursday’s 2.54%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 23 cents a barrel to $63.57 U.S.

Gold prices grew $3.90 to $1,326.40 U.S. an ounce.