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TSX Demurs at Open as Trade Worries Weigh

Canada's main stock index opened slightly lower on Friday following a sharp escalation in U.S.-China trade row but stabilizing oil prices lifted energy stocks, keeping losses in check.

The S&P/TSX Composite shed 12.71 to open Friday at 16,364.33

The Canadian dollar fell 0.19 cents to 75.50 cents U.S.

Restaurant Brands International's quarterly profit beat analysts' expectations on Friday, as more diners visited its Burger King outlets, and investments made in international expansion paid off.

Restaurant Brands shares gained $3.65, or 3.8%, to $99.97.

The Ontario Securities Commission has opened an investigation into CannTrust Holdings Inc, the cannabis producer said on Thursday, less than a month after the health regulator found unlicensed pot cultivation by the company. CannTrust shares docked six cents, or 2.1%, to $2.81.

Barrick Gold said on Thursday it conveyed the need for a "partnership approach" for the future of the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea, as the Pacific nation wants more benefits from the mine, for which Barrick is seeking a lease extension.

Barrick shares picked up 13 cents to $22.56.

Brookfield Asset Management is in talks to acquire a 30% stake in Brazilian sanitation company Brookfield Ambiental from the workers severance fund FGTS. Brookfield shares dipped 15 cents to $65.02.

JPMorgan raised the price target on Air Canada to $50.00 from $42.00. Air Canada slipped 98 cents, or 2.2%, to $44.00.

CIBC cut the price target on Bombardier to $3.25 from $3.75. Bombardier nicked ahead two cents, or 1.1%, to $1.93.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada said Canada's exports were down 5.1% in June, while imports fell 4.3%. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade balance remained in a surplus position of $136 million after posting a $556-million surplus in May.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange crawled up 0.97 points to open the week's last session at 592.30

All but three of the 12 Toronto subgroups were negative to begin the session, with information technology losing 2.1%, materials down 0.6%, and gold off 0.4%.

The three gainers were led by health-care, zooming 3.6%, while consumer discretionary and communications stocks each grew 0.8%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Friday as President Donald Trump added fuel to U.S.-China trade fears with the announcement of more tariffs while investors digested U.S. employment data.

The Dow Jones Industrials plummeted 146.75 to 26,436.67

The S&P 500 dipped 24.5 points, to 2,929.06. The NASDAQ subtracted 100.85 points, or 1.2%, to 8,010.27

In a series of tweets on Thursday, President Donald Trump said the 10% charge would be imposed on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The levy will take effect starting September 1. Trump said later on Thursday he was open to shelving that tariff if China stepped up its U.S. agricultural purchases.

China's foreign ministry pushed back against Trump's latest tariff threat on Friday morning, reportedly saying the world's largest economy should give up its illusions, shoulder some responsibility and come back to the right track on resolving the trade war.

The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in July, just below a Dow Jones estimate of 165,000. The job gains pushed the size of the U.S. labour force to a record high.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, lowering yields to 1.87% from Thursday's 1.9%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices regained $1.64 to $55.59 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices strengthened $20.40 to $1,452.80 U.S. an ounce.

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