Trade-Related Optimism Buoys Stocks by Noon

ARC, Eldorado in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest centre rose on Friday after two days of sharp declines as sentiment was lifted by comments from U.S. President Donald Trump predicting a swift end to the trade dispute with China.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained positive 33.05 points to greet noon at 16,197.66.

The index is still on track to end the week lower.

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.10 cents to 74.32 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Aphria, which jumped 76 cents, or 8.8% to $9.38, after Jefferies started coverage of the cannabis producer with a "buy" rating, and First Quantum Minerals, which rose five cents to $9.90.

ARC Resources fell 22 cents, or 2.8 %, the most on the TSX, to $7.7 4. The second biggest decliner was Eldorado Gold, down 12 cents, or 2.8%, to $4.20.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange remained above water 3.96 points to 605.98.

Six of the 12 Toronto subgroups were in the green midday, as financials tallied 0.7%, health-care picked up 0.5%, and utilities gained 0.3%.

The five laggards were weighed most by consumer staples, off 0.7%, while energy and gold each slid 0.3%. Consumer discretionary stocks were unchanged by noon hour.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were headed for weekly losses on Friday as investors worry the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrials advanced 65.22 points to 25,555.69, and is on pace to post its fifth consecutive weekly decline, its longest since 2011.

The S&P 500 progressed 3.78 points to 2,826.02.

The NASDAQ Composite hiked 20.65 points to 7,648.93

The Dow and S&P 500 came into Friday’s session down more than 1% each for the week while the NASDAQ had lost 2.4%.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ were headed for a third straight week of losses, their longest since last December.

Markets in the U.S. will be closed Monday for Memorial Day

Amazon shares contributed to Friday’s gains, rising 1.2% after an analyst at Piper Jaffray said the company’s stock could reach $3,000 in two years. Dow Inc added to the gains, climbing 0.5% after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to neutral from underweight. Trade bellwethers Boeing gained 2.4%, and Caterpillar rose 0.4%.

Trump told reporters on Thursday afternoon he expected the U.S.-China trade war to end swiftly. He also noted a trade deal with China could lift tough restrictions on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Energy and tech are the worst-performing sectors for the week. The energy sector is down 4% while tech — the largest S&P 500 sector by market weight — has lost 2.6%.

Qualcomm docked 17.6%, and Broadcom lost 10%, among the worst-performers in the sector.

Apple shares also contributed to the tech losses as several analysts raised concern over the company’s exposure to China. The stock is down 4.8% this week.

U.S. durable goods orders dropped 2.1% last month amid a slowdown in exports and a buildup in inventories. This is the latest economic data set showing cracks in the economy while the world’s largest economies engage in a trade war. IHS Markit said Thursday that U.S. manufacturing activity fell to a nine-year low.

The data sets come at a time when investors are growing more convinced that the trade war will take longer than expected to conclude.
Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury backed off, raising yields to 2.32% from Friday’s 2.31%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices nicked up four cents to $57.95 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices dipped $2.10 to $1,283.30 U.S. an ounce.