TSX Struggles to Finish Flat

Tech, Telecoms Lead Charge

Equities in Canada’s largest market recovered from a bruising morning and early afternoon, and vaulted toward the breakeven mark, falling just short by Friday’s final bell.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index was negative 9.36 to end the day and the week at 15,384.59

The Canadian dollar lost 0.34 cents to 77.58 cents U.S.

Tech stocks more than made up for losses in most other sectors, as Logistec Corporation galloped $3.53, or 7.9%, to $48.00, and Constellation Software climbed $18.48, or 2.2%, to $858.48.

Telecoms strengthened as BCE Inc. gained 21 cents to $56.00, and Rogers Communications took on 58 cents, or 1%, to $58.38.

Utilities did better, as Fortis Inc. gained 33 cents to $42.33, while Hydro One acquired 11 cents to $20.77.

However, health-care stocks again took a drubbing as Valeant Pharmaceuticals dropped 27 cents, or 1.4%, to $19.17, while cannabis company Aphria Inc. shed 39 cents, or 2.8%, to $13.65.
The energy group retreated, with Suncor Energy down $1.22, or 2.9% at $40.87, as oil prices fell. Enercare fell behind three cents to $17.98.

Shares of trade-sensitive auto parts and railroad companies added to Thursday's declines. Magna International fell $1.03, or 1.5%, to $67.69, and Canadian Pacific Railway retreated $2.12 to $224.81.

One of the largest percentage gainers on the TSX was Sleep Country, which rose 12.9% after it reported fourth-quarter results after the close on Thursday.

On the data front, Statistics Canada reported that real gross domestic product grew 0.4% in the fourth quarter, the same rate as the previous quarter. Final domestic demand increased 1.0%. Real GDP edged up 0.1% in December as 13 of 20 industrial sectors increased. This followed a 0.4% gain in November.

U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled the tariffs on Thursday but did not make clear whether they would apply to Canada, which is the largest supplier of both steel and aluminum to the United States.

Canada's economy could also be impacted by talks with the United States and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada sends 75% of its exports to the United States.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said markets are adapting to making their own forecasts on where interest rates are going, though he acknowledged the decision to drop forward guidance four years ago has met some criticism.


The TSX Venture Exchange regressed 3.26 points to 826.06

The 12 TSX subgroups were split down the middle, as health-care surrendered 0.8%, while energy failed 0.4%, and industrials subsided 0.2%.

The half-dozen gainers were led by information technology, clicking upward 1.4%, while telecoms vaulted 0.7%, and utilities bettered themselves 0.5%.


U.S. stocks closed well off session lows on Friday, helped by a sharp rise in health-care shares.

The Dow Jones Industrials remained negative 70.92 points to 24,538.06. Johnson & Johnson and Merck were among one of the best-performing stocks in the index, rising 1.2% each.

The S&P 500 climbed 13.58 points to 2,691.25, after falling more than 1%. The health-care sector was the best-performing sector, gaining 1%. Shares of Universal Health Services and Perrigo were among the best-performers in the index.

The NASDAQ Composite survived a negative morning to gain 77.31 points, or 1.1%, to 7,257.87. At its low, the NASDAQ fell as much as 1.3%.

But despite trading off their lows, the major averages posted a weekly loss for the first time in three weeks. For the week, the Dow fell 3.1%, S&P 500 lost 2%, and the NASDAQ fell 1.1%.

Shares of steel and aluminum users like General Motors dipped 1%, and Boeing was off 1.4%. On Thursday, they fell 4% and 3.5%, respectively. Harley Davidson also slipped 2%. Meanwhile, U.S. Steel fell 1.4% after posting strong gains in the previous session.

Trump made the announcement on Thursday, noting the U.S. will implement a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports next week. The news sent stocks reeling, with the Dow closing 420 points lower, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ dropped more than 1%. It also raised concern that other countries may implement retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.

In corporate news, Foot Locker shares dropped 12.7% after the company reported a bigger-than-expected decline in same-store sales for the previous quarter. Foot Locker's same-store sales fell 3.7%, while analysts polled by Reuters expected a decrease of 2.5%.

Meanwhile, J.C. Penney's stock pulled back 5.4% after reporting weaker-than-expected revenue and same-store sales.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note caved, raising yields to 2.87% from Thursday’s 2.81%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices recovered 38 cents a barrel to $61.37 U.S.

Gold prices gathered $17.40 at $1,322.60 U.S. an ounce.