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Stocks Flat by Noon


Canada’s main stock index edged lower on Friday led by losses in consumer discretionary stocks and downbeat sentiment after strong domestic job growth spurred fears that Bank of Canada will keep rates higher for longer.

The TSX Composite sank just 1.5 points below breakeven to move into noon hour at 20,918.14.

The Canadian dollar edged down 0.1 cents at 74.19 cents U.S.

Among individual stocks, dairy product manufacturer Saputo slid a dollar, or 3.6%, to $26.95, after it reported third-quarter revenue below estimates.

Canopy Growth shed 18 cents, or 3.2% to $5.38, after it reported a smaller third-quarter loss on Friday.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reports the economy created 37,000 jobs in January, following three months of little change. The unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 5.7%, the first decline since December 2022.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange sagged 1.33 points to 548.16.

The 12 subgroups were evenly split, with information technology ahead 1.3%, health-care better by 0.3%, and communications inching up 0.2%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed by consumer discretionary stocks, down 1.6%, gold, duller by 1.5%, and materials, off 1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Friday after December’s revised inflation reading came in lower than first reported, and the S&P 500 broke above the historic 5,000 level as strong earnings and economic news chugged on.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 120.42 points to break for lunch Friday at 38,605.91.

The S&P 500 index forged ahead 13.59 points to 5,011.50.

The NASDAQ index gained 143.10 points to 15,935.74.

For the week, the S&P is up 1.1%, while the NASDAQ has gained 2%. The Dow is 0.2% lower week to date.

Megacap technology stocks gained again on Friday, contributing to the S&P’s march above 5,000. Nvidia and Alphabet added more than 1% each. Cloudflare skyrocketed 23% on strong earnings, boosting the broader cloud sector in tandem.

Elsewhere, PepsiCo fell 3% on mixed results, while Take-Two Interactive slumped 8% on a disappointing outlook. Pinterest dropped 12% after issuing a weaker-than-expected forecast and missing revenue estimates.

A solid earnings season, easing inflation data and a resilient economy have powered the market rally into 2024, setting stocks up for a fifth consecutive week of gains. It has also propelled the S&P above the 5,000 level after touching the milestone during Thursday’s session. The S&P 500 first crossed 4,000 in April 2021.

A total of 337 S&P companies have reported quarterly earnings, with 77% of them surprising to the upside on earnings, according to FactSet.

A revision lower in December’s consumer price index also helped sentiment after the government adjusted the figure to a 0.2% increase, down from a 0.3% increase first reported. Core inflation figures, excluding food and energy, were the same. Treasury yields briefly traded lower following the release of the revised figures. January’s CPI figures are due next week.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury sagged, raising yields to 4.19% from Thursday’s 4.15%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices advanced 50 cents to $76.72 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices deducted $11.20 to $2,036.70.



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