Stocks end Friday barely higher

Aphria, Aurora hit hard

Stocks in Toronto just cleared the breakeven point Friday, as gains in energy and industrials barely overrode losses in health-care

The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained afloat 10.25 points to end Friday and the week at 16,225.

The Canadian dollar stepped back 0.08 cents to 77.41 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.

Energy stocks proved the biggest stars, Suncor gaining 61 cents, or 1.2%, to $50.59, while Imperial Oil gathered 99 cents, or 2.5%, to $40.76.

Industrial stocks proved stronger, with Canadian Pacific Railway shooting ahead $4.24, or 1.6%, to $271.68, while Air Canada gained 57 cents, or 2.1%.,to $28.23.

In real-estate, Colliers International Group acquired 61 cents to $101.38, while Brookfield Asset Management moved up $1.13, or 2%, to $57.18.

Health-care stocks took a licking, however, with Aphria down 20 cents, or 1.1%, to $19.76, and Aurora Cannabis lower by 44 cents, or 3.6%

Shares of precious metal miners capped gains on the market

Barrick Gold lost 25 cents, or 1.8%, to $13.46, while Goldcorp dipped 28 cents, or 2%, to $13.62. Nutrien fell $1.19, or 1.6%, to $73.45.

Among materials stocks, Ivanhoe Mines lost three cents, or 1.2%, to $2.53, and Agnico Eagle Mines dwindled 73 cents, or 1.6%, to $44.67.

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 trailed Thursday’s close by 0.3 points to 719.95 Friday.

The 12 subgroups were split by day’s end, with energy better by 0.8%, industrials ahead 0.7%, and real-estate up 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed down most by health-care, sauntering 2.8%, gold, dulling in price 1.4%, and materials, down 1%.

ON WALLSTREET

The Dow Jones Industrials gained another 75.67 points, on top of Thursday’s all-time high, to end the week at 26,732.65, as McDonald's and Boeing outperformed.

The S&P 500 removed 1.35 points from Thursday’s all-time high to finish at 2,929.41

For the week, the Dow jumped 2.2% while the S&P 500 gained nearly 1%.

The NASDAQ moved downward 41.28 points to 7.986.96, as Micron led some of the largest tech companies lower.

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% after the company hiked its quarterly dividend by 14.9% to $1.16 per share.

Micron shares dropped 3.5% after the chipmaker said PC processor shortages are hurting demand for memory chips, a key business for the company.

Five homebuilder stocks were downgraded by J.P. Morgan, including PulteGroup, sending the space lower. PulteGroup shares dropped 0.7%. The analysts noted the housing recovery will be "tepid."

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury faded, raising yields back to Thursday’s 3.07%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained 53 cents to $70.85 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices tumbled $8.40 to $1,202.90 U.S. an ounce.