TSX Lists Lower

Air Canada, Loblaw in Focus

Canada's main stock index opened lower on Friday, reversing almost all of its weekly gains, as upbeat domestic retail sales data failed to offset the weakness in energy and materials stocks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index cratered 111.52 points to open the week’s final session at 17,804.68

The Canadian dollar subsided 0.32 cents to 78.74 cents U.S.

Northern Dynasty Minerals said on Thursday its U.S. subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership has filed an appeal with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its decision to deny a key water permit for the contentious Pebble Mine in Alaska.

Northern Dynasty shares added four cents, or 6.2%, to 69 cents.

ATB Capital Markets raised the target price on Air Canada to $28.00 from $27.50. Air Canada shares shed one cent to $22.02.

RBC cut the target price on Loblaw Companies to $95.00 from $106.00. Loblaw shares backpedaled 42 cents to $63.10.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported retail sales rose at their fastest pace since September, up 1.3% to $55.2 billion in November, the seventh consecutive monthly gain.

The agency says the increase was led by higher sales at food and beverage stores, along with an uptick in e-commerce sales.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 4.92 points to kick off Friday at 934.29.

All but one of the 12 TSX subgroups fell behind in Friday’s first hour, with gold trailing yesterday’s finish by 1.8%, energy staggering 1.6%, and materials off 1.4%.

The lone holdout was health-care, progressing 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks fell on Friday, retreating from record levels, as investors reassessed the outlook for President Joe Biden’s ambitious COVID stimulus plan.

The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 170.42 points to 31,005.59.

The S&P 500 slid 10.58 points to 3,842.49.

The NASDAQ retreated 5.88 points from Thursday’s all-time high to 13,525.03, supported by gains in Microsoft and Facebook.

Despite Friday’s weakness, major averages are on pace to post a winning week. The S&P 500 is up 2.2% for the week so far. The Dow is up 0.6% and the NASDAQ is up 3.8%.

Dow-component IBM fell more than 9% after the company reported fourth-quarter sales below where analysts were expecting. Revenue fell 6% on an annualized basis, the fourth consecutive quarter of declines.

Intel shares retreated 5% following a 6% pop on Thursday after it released better-than-expected earnings just before the closing bell.
Apple has jumped 6.8% and and Facebook has risen 9.7%, this week ahead of their quarterly results, while Microsoft has gained almost 7%.

The so-called FAANG block all traded in the green on Friday.

A growing number of Republicans have expressed doubts over the need for another stimulus bill, especially one with a price tag of $1.9 trillion proposed by Biden. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has criticized the size of the latest round of proposed stimulus checks.

Dissent from either party carries weight for Biden, who took office with a slim majority in Congress.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected on Friday to overwhelmingly confirm former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as Biden’s Treasury secretary. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to lead the department.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were unchanged, keeping yields at Thursday’s 1.10%.

Oil prices swooned 98 cents to $52.15 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices skidded $17.00 to $1,848.90 U.S. an ounce.