|Toronto down in choppy trading|
Equities in Toronto slipped on Friday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen called for a "pragmatic" approach that gives the central bank the flexibility to determine next steps based on evolving economic data.
The S&P/TSX composite index was down 20.54 points to close the day and the week at 15,535.55
The Canadian dollar was down 0.03 cents at 91.36 cents U.S.
The benchmark Canadian index has been climbing steadily in recent months and is up about 14% since the start of the year. It hit a record high earlier in the session on Friday before pulling back.
Financials, declined with Royal Bank of Canada falling 1.1% to $80.80 and Toronto Dominion Bank losing 0.4% to $57.67.
Shares of energy producers slipped with the price of oil. Canadian Natural Resources shed 0.3% to $46.29 and TransCanada Corp gave back 0.9% to $55.98.
Health-care stocks moved ahead, most notably Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, up $3.81, or 3.1%, to $128.35.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported this morning that inflation dipped some last month. Consumer prices rose 2.1% in the 12 months to July, following a 2.4% increase in June. But, on a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, CPI fell 0.1% in July, after rising 0.3% in June.
The agency also told us that retail sales continued their winning streak in June, up 1.1% to $42.6 billion, to make six straight positive months.
The TSX Venture Exchange gained 3.38 points to 1,005.58
Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups gained ground, most of it gained by health-care issues, up 0.4%, while information technology and consumer staples each gained 0.3%.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by financials, down 0.5%, materials, sliding 0.2%, and global base metals, off 0.1%.
Stocks ended mostly lower on Friday as Ukraine-Russia tensions reignited and remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen failed to give investors more clues on interest rate hikes.
The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 38.27 points to close at 17,001.22
The S&P 500 faded 3.97 points to 1,988.40. The NASDAQ gained 6.45 points to 4,538.55
For the week, the Dow is up 2%, the S&P is up 1.7% and the NASDAQ is up 1.6%. It is the strongest week of gains for both the Dow and S&P since April, and the third straight week of gains for all three indexes.
Keurig Green Mountain Inc. surged 14% for the best gain in the S&P 500, helped by news of a new licensing deal with Kraft Foods Group Inc.
Salesforce.com Inc. Ross Stores and GameStop were also big winners in the S&P 500 as investors cheered each company’s quarterly report.
On the downside, Aéropostale shares dropped 10% after the clothing retailer’s forecast a wider-than-expected loss for the fiscal third quarter.
Apple Inc. shares were up 0.9%. The company’s suppliers are struggling to get enough screens ready for the launch of the bigger-screened iPhone 6 next month, according to a report by Reuters, citing unnamed sources.
Yellen, at her speech at the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo., said the economy is getting closer to the Fed’s goals of full employment and stable inflation, and the debate at the central bank is “naturally shifting” to debating when the central bank should begin to raise interest rates.
Balancing this more hawkish tone, Yellen said that 19 labour market indicators followed by the Fed suggest that the decline in the unemployment rate overstates the improvement in overall labor market conditions.
Minutes of the Fed’s meeting in July, released this week, showed senior officials are becoming increasingly divided on how fast the labour market is improving. But many Fed policy makers believe more improvement is needed before they begin raising interest rates.
Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries gained strength, lowering yields to 2.40% from Thursday’s 2.41%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices dipped 34 cents to $93.62 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices gained $5.90 to $1,281.30 U.S. an ounce.