Stocks Static by Noon

Health-care Gains Counter Losses in Financials, Industrials

Canada's main stock index was trading flat on Friday as a rise in health-care stocks offset a drop in financial shares after inflation data lifted expectations the central bank will hold interest rates steady later this month.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index shed 19.8 points to stop for lunch hour at 16,123.75

The Canadian dollar fell 0.29 cents to 77.68 cents U.S.

Markets in Canada will be closed on Monday for Victoria Day.

The financials sector slipped, weighed down by a 65-cent drop in Royal Bank of Canada to $100.40, and Bank of Nova Scotia's decline of 55 cents to $79.99.

Transportation and auto-related stocks fell after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said "the North American Free Trade Agreement countries are nowhere near close to a deal."

The largest advancers on the exchange were cannabis firms, with Aurora Cannabis rising 37 cents, or 5.1%, Canopy Growth up $1.66, or 5%, to $34.80, and Aphria rocketing 49 cents, or 4.1%, to $12.38.

Prometic Life Sciences fell two cents, or 2.7%, to 72 cents, the most on the TSX, followed by Element Fleet Management's decline of seven cents, or 1.2%, to $5.90.

Shares of The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. were up three cents to $3.76 at noon hour, after the cannabis company announced that on May 9, its facility based in Ancaster, Ontario received organic certification from Ecocert Canada, an internationally recognized world-leading organization in organic certification.

CEO Robert Anderson declared, "This is another step in TGOD’s planned expansion to be the world’s largest branded organic cannabis company. Consumers worldwide are interested in quality products and TGOD will continue to strive to provide the highest quality organic product that complements the natural product preferences of today’s consumer."

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported the consumer price index rose 2.2% on a year-over-year basis in April, following a 2.3% increase in March. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index was up 0.1% in April, matching the increase in March.

The agency also reported retail sales increased for the third consecutive month in March, rising 0.6% to $50.2 billion. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers more than offset lower sales at food and beverage stores and gasoline stations.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange stayed afloat 2.44 points to 783.79

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with health-care soaring 2.8%, information technology better by 0.9%, and gold up 0.4%.

The five laggards were weighed most by industrials, down 0.5%, while financials and consumer staples each went down 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 traded lower on Friday as tensions between the U.S. and China weighed on investor sentiment while both countries continued negotiations on trade.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 40.06 points to 24,754.04, as Boeing and Caterpillar shares rose about 2% each.

The S&P 500 subtracted 1.76 points to 2,718.51, with consumer stocks lagging

The NASDAQ dropped 5.26 points to 7,377.03

The major indexes were on track to post slight weekly losses. Entering Friday's session, the Dow was down 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ had declined 0.3% each

In corporate news, Nordstrom shares dropped after the Seattle-based retailer reported same-store sales that missed analyst expectations.
The miss was enough to overshadow better-than-expected revenue and earnings for the first quarter.

On Thursday, the two largest economies in the world began the second round of trade talks. But President Donald Trump told reporters he doubted the negotiations would be successful.

Tensions between the U.S. and China have increased in recent months as both countries have hit each other with tariffs targeting some of their exports.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury were sharply higher, lowering yields to 3.08% from Friday’s 3.12%. Treasury prices and yields tend to move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell eight cents a barrel to $71.41 U.S.

Gold prices moved higher 90 cents at $1,290.30 U.S. an ounce.