Stocks Marginally Higher by Noon



Canada’s main stock index pulled ahead of breakeven on Friday, despite losses in the technology sector that mirrored its U.S. counterparts, while the domestic housing data spurred worries that the Bank of Canada may not cut interest rates soon.

The TSX Composite had captured 24.96 points noon hour EDT on Friday to 21,854.81

The Canadian dollar poked ahead 0.08 cents to 73.95 cents U.S.

Premium Brands Holdings shares slipped 4% to the bottom of TSX after its quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates.

On the flip side, Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT soared 43 cents, or 10.2% to $4.64, after quarterly results.

TC Energy faded 11 cents to $54.56, after the North American pipeline operator agreed to sell its Prince Rupert natural gas pipeline project to two partners in Ksi Lisims LNG, a proposed Canadian export terminal.

On matters economic, foreign investment in Canadian securities amounted to $8.9 billion in January, led by acquisitions of government debt securities. Meanwhile, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $7.6 billion, led by sales of equity securities.

Moreover, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said housing starts totaled 253,000 in February, compared to 223,200 in the same month last year.

Wholesale sales grew 0.1% to $82.4 billion in January.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange forged ahead 0.5 points to 549.97.

The 12 subgroups were evenly divided by midday, with materials and health-care each gaining 0.6%, and industrials picked up 0.2%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by information technology, scampering back 0.4%, consumer discretionary stocks, sliding 0.3%, and gold, dulling in price 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 fell on Friday, with technology stocks under pressure as inflation concerns remain front and center ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

The Dow Jones Industrials dumped 151.94 points to pause for noon at 38,753.72.

The much-broader skidded 34.19 points to 5,116.29.

The NASDAQ slipped 158.13 points, or 1%, to 15,970.40.

Despite the moves downward, the Dow and S&P 500 are still tracking to end the week up around 0.5%, while the NASDAQ is on pace to add 0.3%. All three are also higher on the year.

Tech shares were broadly lower, with Apple and Microsoft down more than 1%. Shares of Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet also fell. Nvidia bucked the trend, however, climbing more than 1%. The chipmaker has whipsawed this week as traders worry about the stock’s valuation and book profits in the high-flying name.

Trading volumes will be elevated and prices may be volatile Friday as futures and options on stock indexes and individual stocks all expire simultaneously in a process known as “triple witching” that happens once a quarter.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury lost ground, boosting yields to 4.30% from Thursday’s 4.29%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices skidded 24 cents to $81.02 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sagged $3.30 to $2,164.20.



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