TSX Listless Midday Friday

Ballard, BlackBerry in Focus

Canadian stocks sagged leading up to lunch break on Friday, as weakness in energy stocks and fears of tighter lockdowns amid rising coronavirus cases globally outweighed optimism around a $1.9-trillion U.S. stimulus plan.

The TSX remained behind 48.45 points midday to 17,909.64.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.52 cents at 78.54 cents U.S.

Ballard Power Systems fell $3.50, or 8%, the most on the TSX, to $40.17. The second biggest decliner was Osisko Mining, down 22 cents, or 6.3%, to $3.25.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Blackberry Limited, which jumped $1.78, or 15.5% to $13.24, its highest point in more than two years, and Aphria, which rose $1.20, or 7.9%, to $16.45, extending its prior session's gains after an upbeat quarterly earnings.

On the economic beat, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported national home sales rose 7.2% on a month-over-month basis in December.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faltered 9.83 points to 904.52.

Seven of the 12 subgroups started the day negative, as energy lost 2.1%, while consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.4%, and financials were 0.3% in the minus category.

The five gainers were led by health-care, better by 4%, information technology, popping 1.8%, and consumer staples, improving 0.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Friday after President-elect Joe Biden announced details of a $1.9-trillion stimulus plan and major banks released their quarterly results, kicking off the earnings reporting season.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its lows of the morning to register 159.8 points below breakeven to 31,831.72. Dow Inc, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs weighed the 30-stock average.

The S&P 500 dipped 23.81 points to 3,771.72. Energy, financials and materials were the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500.
The NASDAQ stumbled 87.69 points to 13,024.95.

For the week, all three of the major averages were down more than 1%.

On Friday, investors got fresh looks at major banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. JPMorgan reported better-than-expected earnings, but the stock fell more than 1%. Wells Fargo sank 7.3%, and Citigroup declined 4.5%, even after posting earnings that beat analyst expectations.

Biden’s proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, includes increasing the additional federal unemployment payments to $400 per week and extending them through September, direct payments to many Americans of $1,400, and extending the federal moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures through September.

The plan also calls for $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $70 billion for Covid testing and vaccination programs and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.7% in December. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected sales to remain flat.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury regained lost ground, lowering yields to 1.09% from Thursday’s 1.13%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices handed back $1.21 to $52.36 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices erased 20 dollars to $1,831.40 U.S. an ounce.