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TSX Clears Breakeven Ahead of Long Weekend

Stocks in Toronto cooled their jets a bit, heading into a long weekend, but still managed to finish in the green, however slightly, as health-care stocks had the stage pretty much to themselves.

The TSX Composite Index remained positive 27.19 points to close Friday and the week at 17,838.74, a gain on the week of nearly 183 points, or 1.04%.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.10 cents to 75.47 cents U.S.

Markets are to be shuttered Monday for Family Day.

Health-care stocks ate their Wheaties Friday, as Canopy Growth vaulted $4.11, or 15.9%, to $29.99, while rival Aurora Cannabis moved higher eight cents, or 4.1%, to $2.04.

In utilities, Canadian Utilities added 28 cents to $41.90, while Hydro One clicked higher by 54 cents, or 1.9%, to $29.30.

Real-estate issues also impressed, with units of Allied Properties REIT picking up 40 cents to $59.08, while Brookfield Asset Management climbed $1.80, or 2%, to $90.22.

On the downside, materials were weighed by Agnico-Eagle Mines, shedding $12.02, or 15.4%, to $66.27, while First Majestic Silver docked seven cents to $12.70.

Among tech stocks, BlackBerry peeled off 25 cents, or 3.1%, to $57.72, while Constellation Software dropped $38.66, or 2.6%, to $1,472.83.

Communications were also in the loss column, with Shaw giving back two cents to $25.88, and Rogers sifting off 10 cents to $65.74.

Economically speaking, the Canadian Real Estate Association said actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, rose 11.5% from a year earlier, while the group's Home Price Index was up 4.7% from January last year.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange docked 0.51 points to 570.49, a weekly loss of 3.7 points, or 0.6%.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative by Friday's close, with materials and information technology surrendering 0.7% each, while communications lost 0.4%.

The five gainers were led handsomely by health-care, zooming 6%, while utilities hiked 0.7%, and real-estate concerns were 0.5% to the good.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were little changed on Friday, notched a gain for the week, as Wall Street digested the latest batch of consumer data and earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrials staggered 25.23 points into the long weekend to 29,398.08

The S&P 500 inched up 6.22 points to 3,380.16.

The NASDAQ gained 19.21 points to 9,731.18, hitting an all-time high.

Stocks came off their lows of the day, after a report that the White House is considering tax incentives for people in the U.S. to buy stocks.

Despite Friday's muted trading moves, stocks posted back-to-back weekly gains. The S&P 500 grabbed 1.6%, and Dow rose 1%, this week.

The NASDAQ gained 2.2%, advances that came even as investors grappled with a rising number of reported coronavirus cases.

Markets will be closed Monday for the Presidents' Day holiday.

This week, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all climbed more than 2%. Apple, meanwhile, ended the week 1.5% higher.

In the economic docket, the U.S. Commerce Department reported core retail sales, which exclude autos, gas, building materials and food services, were unchanged last month. The department added clothing-store sales had their biggest one-month decline since 2009.

The data outweighed the release of strong corporate earnings releases from companies such as Nvidia and Expedia.

Nvidia shares rose 7% after its quarterly results beat analyst expectations. Expedia got an 11% boost from its earnings while Newell Brands climbed 3%.

More than 77% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings thus far, with roughly 72% of them beating analyst expectations.

China's National Health Commission on Friday reported an additional 121 deaths nationwide, with 5,090 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The flu-like virus was found to have killed a total of 1,380 people in mainland China as of Thursday evening after the health commission said it had removed 108 deaths from the total figure due to a double-count in Hubei province — the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained a bit of ground, lowering yields to 1.59% from Thursday's 1.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 64 cents to $52.06 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices took on seven dollars to $1,585.80 U.S. an ounce.

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