Stocks Take Lumps by Noon

Methanex, Westport in Focus

Canada's main stock index was muted on Friday, and on track to post a weekly loss of half a percentage point as energy stocks took a beating from lower oil prices.

TSX Composite index gave up 70.33 points to greet noon at 20,113.39.

The Canadian dollar inched up 0.02 cents to 79.44 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Methanex, which jumped $1.81, or 4.4%, to $42.98, after the methanol producer raised
its quarterly divided.

Westport Fuel Systems followed with a rise of eight cents, or 1.5%, to $5.27.

Turquoise Hill Resources fell $2.91, or 14.3%, the most on the TSX, to $17.49, $after multiple brokerages cut their price targets on
the stock.

The second biggest decliner was B2Gold, down 28 cents, or 5.2%, to $5.07, after National Bank of Canada cut its price target on the miner.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada said foreigners acquired $20.8 billion in Canadian securities in May, mainly in the form of government debt securities. At the same time, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $10.7 billion, led by acquisitions of U.S. shares.

Moreover, the agency said sales of wholesale products rose 0.5% in May to $72.2 billion, setting a record high for the sector for a third consecutive month.

Finally, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that housing starts totalled 293,567 units in June, up from 284,837 units in May.

Canada may permit fully vaccinated travelers into the country by early September, the country's prime minister said on Thursday, if the current trend in vaccination rate and public health conditions continue.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada and Quebec are ready to spend a combined $693 million on aerospace projects that cut carbon emissions.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange docked 11.48 points, or 1.2%, to 917.05.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were in the red, with materials paler by 2.3%, while health-care and gold were each off 1.9%.

The five gainers were led by consumer staples, heading higher 1%, while utilities and communications each rose 0.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock indexes gave up their gains on Friday as a worse-than-expected consumer sentiment reading overshadowed strong retail sales numbers and earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 58.86 points to move into lunch hour at 34,928.16

The S&P 500 slipped 5.33 points to 4,354.70

The NASDAQ docked 12.2 points to 14,530.93.

The S&P 500 is down roughly 0.3%, while the NASDAQ is tailing off 1.2%. The Dow is little changed on the week.

Weaker performance from technology stocks also weighed on the market. Shares of Netflix fell ahead of the streaming giant’s second-quarter earnings report next week. Nvidia shares also dropped.

Investors also digested strong earnings results from the first major week of second-quarter reports. Though some of the nation’s largest companies posted healthy profits and revenues amid the economic recovery, the reaction in the stock market has so far been muted.

Much of the market’s upward pressure over the last week has come from a handful of mega-cap internet and communications stocks. Apple, Netflix, Google-parent Alphabet and Microsoft are all up this week.

The U.S. consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan came in at 80.8 for the first half of July, down from 85.5 last month and worse than economists estimated, who projected an increase.

The survey released Friday showed inflation expectations rising with consumers believing prices will increase 4.8% in the next year, the highest level since August 2008.

Retail and food service sales rose 0.6% in June, while economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected a 0.4% decline. Excluding autos, those sales jumped 1.3%, beating economists’ estimate of a 0.4% gain.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were lower, raising yields to 1.31% from Thursday’s 1.30%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 38 cents to $72.03 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slid $14.60 to $1,814.40 U.S. an ounce.