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Stocks Flat Friday



Stocks in Toronto struggled higher, though gains were weighed down by consumer discretionary stocks, while investors assessed a strong jobs report at home and revised lower inflation numbers from the United States.

The TSX Composite squeezed higher 11.39 points to begin the last session of the week at 20,919.64.

The Canadian dollar edged up 0.1 cents at 74.40 cents U.S.

In corporate news, Magna International forecast its 2024 profit below estimates on Friday.

Enbridge reported its fourth-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates.

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 0.59 points to 548.90.

Seven of the 12 subgroups started out lower, with consumer discretionary stocks down 1.3%, gold duller by 0.9%, and materials off 0.6%.

The five gainers were led by communications, soaring 1.1%, information technology, clicking 0.9% higher, and health-care, haler by 0.8%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Friday as the government said December’s inflation reading was even lower than first reported, and the S&P 500 broke above the 5,000 level, after briefly trading above the historic milestone on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 60.58 points to kick off Friday at 38,665.75.

The S&P 500 index forged ahead 11.93 points to 5,009.84.

The NASDAQ index gained 93.16 points to 15,886.88.

For the week, the S&P is up 0.9%, while the blue-chip Dow has edged up 0.2%, and the NASDAQ has climbed 1.4%.

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.

Megacap technology stocks gained again on Friday, contributing to the S&P’s march above 5,000. Nvidia and Alphabet added about 1% each. Cloudflare skyrocketed 18% on strong earnings, and boosted the broader cloud sector in tandem.

Elsewhere, PepsiCo fell 2% on mixed results, while Take-Two Interactive slumped 8% on a disappointing outlook. Pinterest dropped 9% after issuing a weaker-than-expected forecast and missing revenue estimates.

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 4.18% from Thursday’s 4.15%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices rumbled higher 88 cents to $77.10 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices deducted $8.90 to $2,039.



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