Stocks Finish Friday, Week Negative

Absolute, Sierra in Spotlight

Stocks limped to the finish on Friday, with uncertainty over how well North American markets were going to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, or how soon.

The TSX toppled 49.94 points, to close Friday and the week at 16,197.78. On the week, the index fell 24.68 points.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.26 cents to 75.78 cents U.S.

Gold stocks led the downfall Friday, with OceanaGold sliding 16 cents, or 5.8%, to $2.60, while Wesdome Gold Mines dropped 59 cents, or 4.5%, to $12.57.

Among communications issues, Corus Entertainment slumped 26 cents, or 8.2%, to $2.91, while Rogers Communications backpedaled 86 cents, or 1.6%, to $51.86.

In real-estate, Artis REIT gave back 24 cents, or 2.7%, to $8.58, while Allied Properties REIT lost 88 cents, or 2.3%, to $37.26.

Tech stocks led the brief parade of winners, as Absolute Sofware picked up 95 cents, or 7%, to $14.61, while Sierra Wireless advanced 62 cents, or 4.6%, to $13.97.

Consumer staples also posted gains, with Maple Leaf Foods taking on 84 cents, or 3.1%, to $27.57, while Jamieson Wellness gained 40 cents, or 1.1%, to $38.42.

Ontario will clamp down on social gatherings to prevent "reckless careless people" from spreading the coronavirus at illegal parties, Premier Doug Ford said on Thursday.

Carolyn Wilkins, the senior deputy governor at the Bank of Canada who lost her bid for the top job just four months ago, will not seek a second term, the bank said on Thursday.

In the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported that July’s wholesale trade increased for a third consecutive month in July as sales rose 4.3% to a record high $65.0 billion on the strength of higher sales in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories sub-sector.

Retail sales rose 0.6% to $52.9 billion in July, led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gas stations.

The agency goes on to say retail sales in June and July topped those of February, just prior to the pandemic.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange inched up 2.15 points to 745.37, for a gain on the week of 12 points, or 1.64%.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative, with gold and communications each stumbling 1.4%, while real-estate skidded 0.9%.

The three gainers were information technology, up 0.7%, while consumer staples and utilities each gained 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Friday to end a volatile week as investors continued to dump shares of high-flying tech companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 244.56 points to 27,657.42.

The S&P 500 dipped 37.54 points, or 1.1%, to 3,310.47.

The NASDAQ ditched 117 points, or 1.1%, to 10,793.28.

The major averages fell for a third straight week, notching their longest weekly losing streaks since last year. The Dow posted a slight week-to-date loss. The S&P 500 lost 0.7% and the NASDAQ dropped 0.6% over that time period.

Shares of Apple dropped more than 3% on Friday. Microsoft dropped 1.2%, and Alphabet pulled back 2.4%. Netflix dipped 0.1%. Facebook fell 0.9%.

Big Tech was also down broadly week to date. Facebook and Amazon have each dropped more than 5% this week. Alphabet, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft are also down sharply over that time period.

For the month, all six stocks are down at least 10%. Apple, specifically, has plunged 17.2% in September. From their peak, Apple shares have fallen 22.6%; the company has also given up $500 billion in market value.

Tensions between China and the U.S. also dampened market sentiment after the U.S. government said it will block all TikTok and WeChat downloads in the country on Sunday. Oracle, which is trying to take a minority stake in TikTok-parent ByteDance, fell 0.7%.

Republicans and Democrats are still struggling to agree on how much aid to continue to provide in a follow-up bill to the previous $2-trillion package. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he liked "the larger numbers," urging GOP lawmakers to go for a bigger coronavirus stimulus, but his comments left Republicans skeptical.

Meanwhile, the path to a COVID-19 vaccine, which is critical to the economic recovery, still seems unclear. Health officials said vaccinations would be in limited quantities this year and not widely distributed for six to nine months.

Still, the major averages were set to snap two-week losing streaks despite the uncertainties surrounding the market and economic outlook.

Both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ were up about 0.5% week to date heading into Friday’s session. The Dow was up 0.85% for the week.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury slumped, raising yields to 0.7% from Thursday’s 0.69%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices subtracted 12 cents to $40.85 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices were better by eight dollars to $1,957.90 U.S. an ounce.