Stocks Flat by Noon

Health-Care Issues Hale and Hearty

Equities in Canada’s largest centre were little changed on Friday as heavyweight financial shares fell, offsetting gains for resource and healthcare stocks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index had recovered 17.36 points to greet noon Friday at 16,221.33

The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.36 cents at 81.14 cents U.S.

The financials group, which accounts for more than one-third of the TSX's weight, slipped as shares of some of the country's major banks declined. Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 0.6% to $73.96, while Bank of Nova Scotia was down 0.7% at $81.28.

Yamana Gold Inc rose nearly 3% to $4.54 and Alamos Gold Inc gained 2.9% to $7.85.

Shares of Canopy Growth rose 8.8% to $34.48 after AltaCorp Capital upgraded the stock to "speculative buy."

On the economic front, Statistics Canada revealed that this country’s consumer price index rose 1.9% on a year-over-year basis in December, following a 2.1% increase in November.

On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index was up 0.2% in December.

Annually, the increase in the CPI was 1.6% in 2017, which followed gains of 1.4% in 2016 and 1.1% in 2015.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 2.95 points to start Friday at 883.17

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher midday, as health-care ballooned 3%, information technology clicked 1.2%, and telecoms were better off 0.5%.

The three laggards were consumer staples, down 0.2%, financials, off 0.1%, and industrials, sliding 0.02%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks traded higher on Friday as quarterly earnings top estimates, while the economy continues to grow.

The Dow Jones industrial average improved 74.66 points on Thursday’s all-time high to 26,467.45

The S&P 500 added 13.74 points to Thursday’s record high to 2,852.99, with tech and health-care as the best-performing sectors.

The NASDAQ picked up 39.39 points to 7,450.56

The major indexes were also on track to post weekly gains of at least 1.5%

AbbVie, Honeywell, Intel and Rockwell are among the latest companies to report better-than expected earnings and revenue.

Shares of AbbVie and Honeywell rose 9.3% and 1.1%, respectively, while Intel gained 9.1%. Rockwell advanced 0.7%

Overall, this earnings season has been strong thus far. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported as of Friday morning, 77% have reported-better-than-expected earnings while 79% have surpassed sales estimates

Wall Street also digested key U.S. economic data on Friday. The Commerce Department the U.S. economy grew by 2.6% during the fourth quarter of 2017. Economists expected a gain of 3%.

Meanwhile, U.S. durable goods orders rose 2.9% in December, according to the Commerce Department. Economists expected an increase of 0.8%.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note hesitated, raising yields to 2.65% from Thursday’s 2.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 36 cents a barrel to $65.87 U.S.

Gold prices dulled $11.20 to $1,351.70 U.S. an ounce.