Update: TSX Little Changed on Friday as Equities Fail to Find Direction; Gold & Oil Post Modest Gains

Canada’s main stock market was virtually unchanged on Friday as equities were unable to find any direction, with gold and oil prices also barely moving. The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 0.7 points to close at 15,454. The TSX gained about 1.8% for the week. U.S. markets were also little changed Friday but mostly to the downside.

The TSX’s sectors were mixed, with telecoms, utilities, energy and tech in the red, offset by gains in financials and materials.

In stock news, two of the most active oil drillers were in the spotlight today. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) was down 0.6% but it is up 16% so far this month. Similarly, Tourmaline Oil (TOU.TO) was little changed Friday but up 8% in September, an active time for the drillers. Heavily traded Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) was off 5% while Polaris Materials (PLS.TO) jumped 30% after receiving an unsolicited offer from an undisclosed U.S. construction materials company to acquire the company for $3.40 per share in cash, outbidding Vulcan Materials’ offer of $2.79 per share. Among today’s most influential shares, Air Canada (AC.TO) gained 4%.

In economic news, CPI grew 0.2% in August after the flat reading in July. CPI accelerated to a 1.4% annual growth pace in August from the 1.2% y/y rate of expansion in July. The CPI-trim grew at a 1.4% y/y pace in August from 1.3% y/y in July, the CPI-common was up 1.5% y/y from 1.4% and the CPI-median was 1.7% versus an identical 1.7%.y/y gain in July. The pick-up in month comparable and annual CPI growth undershot expectations for more pronounced gains. The modest improvement in two out of the three core measures was roughly as expected. Meanwhile, retail sales rose 0.4% in July after the 0.1% m/m gain in June. The ex-autos sales aggregate improved 0.2% in July after a revised 0.4% gain in June (was +0.7%). Motor vehicle sales and parts dealers (+0.8%) led total sales growth in July, with a strong assist from food and beverage store sales (+0.9%). Sales improved in 6 out of 11 subsectors. The improvement in total sales was as-expected, but the ex-autos sales aggregate undershot expectations as motor vehicle sales were projected to have declined in July. Meanwhile, sales volumes fell 0.2% m/m in July, contrasting with the monthly gains seen from January to June of this month and threatening the outlook for a modest gain in July GDP. Today’s data does not change Action Economics’ forecast of two more 25 bps interest rate hikes in 2017, starting next month.

The loonie was close to unchanged around market close at 81.06 US, after starting the day around 81.50 US.

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