Stocks Gain only Slightly at Open

Home, MTY in Focus


Canada's main stock index inched lower on Friday as energy stocks tracked weaker crude prices, while investors remained cautious on developments around the Russia-Ukraine standoff.

The S&P/TSX Composite inched up 10.29 points to commence the last session of the week at 21,186.62.

The Canadian dollar moved ahead 0.05 cents at 78.73 cents U.S.

Markets are to be closed Monday in Canada for Family Day.

Air Canada reported a smaller fourth-quarter loss, powered by strong holiday demand. Shares in “The Maple Leaf Airline” gained 84 cents, or 3.4%, to $25.47.

RBC raised the target price on Home Capital Group to $56.00 from $54.00. Home dropped 23 cents to $37.72.

RBC raised the target price on MTY Food Group to $66.00 from $62.00. MTY shares eased 18 cents to $53.89.

Canaccord Genuity cuts the rating on Superior Plus to hold from buy. Superior Plus shares folded $1.19, or 9.1%, to $11.85.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada said retail sales fell 1.8% to $57.0 billion in December. Lower sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores (-9.5%) and furniture and home furnishings stores (-11.3%) led the decline, which coincided with concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in December.

The agency also said In January, new home prices for Canada grew by 0.9% compared with December, slightly up after the market had a brief slowdown in December. Prices were up in 15 of the 27 census metropolitan areas surveyed, and unchanged in 12.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange eked higher 0.2 points to 859.73.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups regained ground in Friday’s first hour, with information technology ahead 0.7%, real-estate improving 0.6%, and health-care stronger 0.5%.

The three laggards were energy, down 1.2%, gold, sliding 0.7%, and materials, 0.3% to the bad.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stock indexes were mixed Friday and headed for a second consecutive losing week as the Russia-Ukraine conflict loomed.

The Dow Jones Industrials grabbed 56.7 points to 34,368.73, following the index’s worst day since the end of November.

The S&P 500 edged up 2.94 points to 4,383.20.

The NASDAQ stumbled 46.72 points to 13,670.

Friday was particularly volatile with trillions of dollars in options and futures on stocks, indexes and ETFs set to expire. Option expiration days, which generally occur on the third Friday of the month, can cause the market to swing in a wide range as these positions are closed out.

Stocks have struggled this week as investors continue to be on edge about the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian government and Russian state-controlled media on Friday exchanged fresh accusations of cease-fire violations at the border.

Ukraine on Thursday accused pro-Russian separatists of attacking a village near the border. In the U.S., meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the United Nations and warned that the situation is at a "moment of peril."

Oil prices fell Friday morning and energy stocks were marginally lower. Devon Energy, APA and Schlumberger each lost less than 1%.
Intel was the biggest laggard on the Dow, down around 4%. Bank of America reiterated an underperform rating on the stock.

Roku shares dropped about 25% after the video-streaming company reported a revenue miss and issued weaker-than-expected guidance.

Prices for 10-year Treasurys gained, weighing yields to 1.94%, from Thursday’s 1.97%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell 98 cents to $90.78 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slid $3.50 to $1,898.50 U.S. an ounce.