Canada's main stock index was flat on Friday but on track for a 1.9% gain on the week as financial stocks pushed higher and a bid for bullion on rising tension between North Korea and the United States boosted gold miners.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 16.4 points to greet noon at 15,438.52
The Canadian dollar added 0.19 cents to 81.3 cents U.S.
Kirkland Lake Gold rose 1.2% to $16.31 after National Bank of Canada started coverage on the stock with an outperform rating. Tahoe Resources gained 2.8% to $7.09 after the miner increased its 2017 gold production outlook and cut its spending plans.
Gold prices recovered from a four-week low on a bid for safety as North Korea said it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country.
Bank of Nova Scotia added 0.5% to $79.30 while finance company ECN Capital Corp jumped 4.5% to $3.94 after closing a deal to acquire Service Finance Holdings and as Credit Suisse raised its view on the stock to "outperform" from "neutral".
Air Canada pushed 2.5% higher to $27.06 as investors bought into its plan to expand routes and cut some prices to compete against low-cost new entrants.
On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported Friday that the consumer price index rose 1.4% on a year-over-year basis in August, following a 1.2% increase in July. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, inflation grew 0.2% in August, matching the increase in July.
What's more, retail sales in Canada increased 0.4% to $49.1 billion in July. Higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and food and beverage stores were the main contributors to the gain.
The TSX Venture Exchange picked up 1.81 points to 778.68
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative by noon hour, with health-care down 0.8%, information technology sliding 0.5%, and energy hesitating 0.3%.
The five gainers were led by gold, ahead 0.9%, materials, up 0.4%, and real-estate, better by 0.2%.
U.S. stocks fell Friday amid rising geopolitical tensions with North Korea.
The Dow Jones Industrials stayed negative 19 points to 22,340.23, with Apple continuing to add to its weekly decline and UnitedHealth trading lower.
The S&P 500 sank 0.52 points to 2,500.08, with energy stocks rallying and financials, utilities and health care pulling back. Shares of Exxon gained 0.4% while JPMorgan, Citi, and Morgan Stanley traded lower Friday to pare weekly gains.
The NASDAQ fell 4.83 points to 6,417.86, as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals fell: Amgen and Celgene were down 0.7% and 1% respectively.
Apple shares continued to drag on markets, falling 1.5% Friday: The stock has dropped 5.5% since Monday. Many believe the stock's slip is spurred by poor reviews of the company's new iPhone 8 and Apple Watch products. Despite the stock's recent performance, it remains up 30% since January.
On the flip side, shares of Boeing added 0.5% as the dispute the company and its Canadian rival, Bombardier, heats up. The two are battling over a potential defense sale worth about $5 billion.
Aerospace and defense stocks have surged this week amid rising global tensions. Shares of Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne traded 0.1% and 5.1% higher respectively. Both companies are up more than 20% since Monday.
Inflation measures have remained largely unimpressive recently, keeping investors skeptical of an additional hike this year. The core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed's preferred inflation measure, increased 1.4% in the 12 months through July. That was the smallest year-on-year increase since December 2015.
On the world scene, North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho said Thursday that the country may consider testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean. If successfully conducted, the test would be North Korea's first nuclear test beyond its borders.
Rhetoric between the United States and North Korea escalated this week as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized U.S. President Donald Trump, calling the president's United Nations address earlier this week "unprecedented rude nonsense."
Trump responded in kind on Twitter, calling Kim "a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people."
Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note jumped, lowering yields to 2.26% from Thursday's 2.28%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices dropped nine cents a barrel to $50.46 U.S.
Gold prices gained $4.60 to $1,299.40 U.S. an ounce