Stocks Stumble Slightly at Outset

Retail Sales Flat in June

Equities in Canada’s largest centre fell at the open on Friday as energy shares slipped, tracking a decline in oil prices, after China unveiled more retaliatory tariffs against U.S. goods, intensifying a bitter trade dispute.

The S&P/TSX Composite dropped 55.77 points to open Friday at 16,253.46

The Canadian dollar was down 0.11 to 75.10 cents U.S.

Desjardins raised the rating on Alimentation Couche-Tard to buy from hold; target price to $88.00 from $87.00. Couche-Tard shares gained 38 cents to $80.51.

BMO raised the target price Empire Company to $42.00 from $36.00. Empire shares gathered 21 cents to $36.33.

Analysts say Canadian house prices will be flat this year, but will pick up in 2020, driven by lower mortgage rates and solid domestic economic conditions.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said retail sales were essentially unchanged in June. Stronger sales across most sub-sectors were offset by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. Excluding sales in these two sub-sectors, monthly retail sales advanced 1.7%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange eked higher 1.51 points to 579.61

The 12 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided in the first hour, as gold gained 1.2%, while materials and information technology issues each climbed 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by energy, down 1.7%, while consumer discretionary lost 1%, and health-care slid 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks opened lower on Friday after China said it will slap new tariffs on U.S. goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened Friday down 44.79 points to 26,207.45

The S&P 500 surrendered 9.27 points to 2,913.68

The NASDAQ dumped 36.53 points to 7,954.85

Losses were muted slightly as traders awaited a speech from the Federal Reserve chief on monetary policy.

Jerome Powell was expected to address an audience of policymakers and economists at 10 a.m. ET. He faces the tough challenge of presenting a unified voice on Fed policy from the most divided U.S. central bank in years.

Overseas, China will implement new tariffs on another $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, including autos. The tariffs will range between 5% and 10% and will be implemented in two batches on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.

This is the latest escalation in the trade war that has been going on since last year. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump said the U.S. will impose tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. The administration then said some of those tariffs would be delayed.

Shares of General Motors demurred 1.7%, and Ford Motor fell by 2.1%, respectively. Fiat Chrysler slid 1.4% along with Tesla.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained slightly, lowering yields to 1.59% from Thursday’s 1.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices wilted $1.47 to $53.88 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $6.60 to $1,515.10 U.S. an ounce.