Stocks Barely Budge by Noon

Equities in Canada’s biggest market were fairly static Friday, with lacklustre gains by utilities and tech failing to put some distance between themselves and Thursday’s close.

The TSX began Friday was up 8.05 points above breakeven by midday to 16,509.23

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.2 cents to 75.79 cents U.S.

Utilities pulled ahead of the previous session, with Northland Power advancing $1.02, or 2.3%, to $44.60. Meanwhile, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners units gained 82 cents, or 1.3%, to $61.96.

Among tech issues, Photon Control gathered a dime, or 6.7%, to $1.60, while Kinaxis shares picked up $3.93, or 1.9%, to $208.81.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada revealed non-resident investors acquired $15.5 billion of Canadian securities in August, largely purchases of debt securities.

At the same time, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $5.7 billion, led by acquisitions of U.S. shares.

Manufacturing sales fell 2.0% to $52.4 billion in August, following three consecutive months of strong increases.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 2.81 points to 724.57.

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, utilities led the former half, up 0.5%, while information technology and energy each gained 0.4%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by real-estate, down 0.8%, while gold and communications each faded 0.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Friday, boosted by strong U.S. retail sales data as Wall Street tried to snap a three-day losing streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average popped 234.09 points to pause for lunch at 28,728.29.

The S&P 500 hiked 16.64 points to 3,499.98.

The NASDAQ remained buoyant 33.42 points to 11,747.29.

The market also got a boost after Pfizer said it would apply for emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine as soon as it reaches certain safety milestones that it expects to have in late November. Meanwhile, Europe’s aviation regulator said Boeing’s 737 Max jet is safe to fly again. Boeing shares rose 5%.

Wall Street was coming off its third consecutive daily decline amid uncertainty around further coronavirus stimulus as well as fears of a worsening pandemic around the world.

The major averages suffered their third straight day of losses on Thursday, their longest losing streak in nearly a month.

Lawmakers in Washington continued to send mix signals about progress toward a stimulus deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the White House won’t let differences over funding targets for Covid-19 testing derail stimulus talks with top Democrats.

Later, President Donald Trump said that he would raise his offer for a stimulus package above his current level of $1.8 trillion. House Democrats have passed a $2.2-trillion bill.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department revealed that retail sales jumped 1.9% in September, easily topping a Dow Jones estimate of 0.7%. Excluding autos, sales were up 1.5%. That’s also better than a 0.4% estimate.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury lost ground, lifting yields to 0.75% from Thursday’s 0.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices were down 20 cents at $40.76 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gave up $4.10 to $1,904.80