TSX posts modest gains at open

Surge Energy in focus

Markets in Canada’s largest centre opened moderately higher on Friday, boosted by a rise in energy shares on higher oil prices ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index fought its way up 27.22 points to open Friday at 16,241.97

The Canadian dollar skidded 0.15 cents to 77.34 cents.

Canada and the United States showed scant sign on Thursday of closing a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, and Canadian officials made clear Washington needed to withdraw a threat of possible auto tariffs, sources said.

IA Securities starts coverage on Surge Energy with buy rating and price target $4.00. Surge shares added one cent to $2.48.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported that the consumer price index rose 2.8% in the 12 months leading up to August, following a 3.0% increase in July. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI was up 0.1% in August, after increasing 0.5% in July.

Retail sales rose 0.3% to $50.9 billion in July on higher sales at food and beverage stores and gasoline stations. Excluding the lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales increased 0.9%.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 0.99 points to 719.26

The 12 subgroups were evenly split between gainers and losers, as energy led the former group, up 0.9%, while industrials surged 0.6%, and information technology picked up 0.5%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by health-care, down 2.5%, gold, duller by 1.2%, and materials, off 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks traded higher on Friday as two major markets tried to end a record-setting week on a high note.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained another 52.6 points, on top of Thursday’s all-time high, to 26,709.58, led by gains in McDonald's and United Technologies.

The S&P 500 added 7.16 points to 2,937.92, also a new all-time record, climbing 0.3% as telecommunications outperformed.

The Dow is up 1.9% and the S&P up 0.9% for the week, as investor fears of a full-blown trade war taking place decreased.

The NASDAQ forged forward 8.65 points to 8,036.89, to trade about 1% away from an all-time high.

Investors also braced for an S&P 500 sector reshuffling that will send Google-parent Alphabet, Netflix, Facebook and Twitter to the telecommunication services sector. That sector will also be renamed communication services starting Monday. Disney and CBS will also be added to the revamped sector.

The moves will lead to a 21.4% loss in market cap for the consumer discretionary sector and a 19.5% drop in tech's market value. Meanwhile, the new communication sector will represent 9.8% of the S&P 500, up from the current telecom's size of 2%.

Analysts are not expecting a large move when the new sector starts trading on Monday, but some media stocks could garner buying interest as some of the large FANG stocks join the space.

McDonald's shares rose 2.3% after the company hiked its quarterly dividend by 14.9% to $1.16 per share.

Micron shares dropped 2.9% after the chipmaker said PC processor shortages are hurting demand for memory chips, a key business for the company.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury inched up, lowering yields to 3.06% from Thursday’s 3.07%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 75 cents to $71.07 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices fell $8.90 to $1,202.40 U.S. an ounce.