Canadian Stocks Are Little Changed On Mixed Data - Canadian Commentary

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( - The Canadian stock market has been fluctuating between small gains and losses since the open of trade Friday, but remains little changed overall. The approaching Christmas holiday and the threat of a U.S. government shutdown are weighing on sentiment at the end of the trading week. Meanwhile, Canadian economic data proved mixed this morning.

Data from Statistics Canada showed that GDP expanded 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis in October following a 0.1 percent decrease in September. Economists had forecast a 0.2 percent rise.

Separate data showed that retail sales rose in October driven by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations.

On a month-on-month basis, retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in October, while economists were expecting a 0.5 percent gain. Sales grew 0.1 percent in September.

Core retail sales were flat on month after a 0.1 percent uptick in the previous month. Economists were looking for a 0.2 percent increase.

Markets in Europe are trading modestly to the downside Friday. Traders are in a cautious mood heading into the weekend, ahead of the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Markets on Wall Street are rising Friday morning after comments from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams. Williams stated that the Fed could reassess its view in 2019 if the economy slows.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 59.27 points or 0.42 percent at 14,201.04.

On Thursday, the index closed down by 122.29 points or 0.86 percent, at 14,141.77. The index scaled an intraday high of 14,341.72 and a low of 14,075.94.

The Energy Index is rising 0.52 percent. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is increasing 1.97 percent and Encana (ECA.TO) is climbing 0.53 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is higher by 0.40 percent and Enbridge (ENB.TO) is advancing 1.46 percent. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is gaining 0.43 percent and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is adding 0.70 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.40 percent. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is higher by 0.74 percent and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is advancing 0.72 percent. Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) is gaining 5.10 percent and Finning International (FTT.TO) is adding 1.89 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is up 0.47 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is gaining 0.72 percent and BCE (BCE.TO) is advancing 0.76 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is up 0.37 percent. Nutrien (NTR.TO) is climbing 1.91 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.23 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is rising 0.21 percent and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is gaining 0.09 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is climbing 0.41 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is up 0.60 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is adding 0.61 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is losing 0.59 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is falling 0.62 percent and BlackBerry (BB.TO) is declining 4.31 percent.

The Gold Index is decreasing 0.23 percent. Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) is weakening 2.41 percent and IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is declining 1.20 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is lower by 0.55 percent.

Enghouse Systems Limited (ENGH.TO) is falling 1.09 percent after it announced that its board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 share split of its outstanding common shares.

Air Canada (AC.TO) is up 0.16 percent after it announced that it has completed two separate banking transactions in December 2018 which together have increased Air Canada's revolving lines of credit by approximately $600 million and overall liquidity by approximately $345 million.

Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) is declining 3.41 percent after it announced that it has completed its second shipment of approximately 80 L (equivalent to approximately 20 kg of dried bud) of medical cannabis to its Australian-based partner Althea Company Pty Ltd.

On the economic front, Germany's consumer confidence is set to remain steady at the start of next year as households as the divide between expectations on overall economic situation and personal finances widened further.

The forward-looking consumer confidence indicator is set to show a reading of 10.4 in January, unchanged from December, the market research group GfK said Friday. Economists had forecast a score of 10.3 for January.

Germany's import price growth slowed to its lowest level in six months in November, after an acceleration in the previous month, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Friday.

The import price index rose 3.1 percent annually in November following a 4.8 percent increase in October. The latest gain was fastest since May, when import prices rose 2.9 percent from a year ago

Export prices increased 1.7 percent year-on year in November, but fell 0.1 percent from the previous month.

British business investment fell for three consecutive quarters, marking its weakest period since the 2008-09 global financial crisis, as businesses reduced spending due to the Brexit chaos.

Business investment decreased 1.1 percent sequentially in the third quarter, falling for a third consecutive quarter.

Investment declined for such a long duration for the first time since the economic downturn of 2008-2009, the Office for National Statistics said.

Reflecting downward revisions to consumer spending and exports, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing slightly slower than previously estimated U.S. economic growth in the third quarter.

The report said real gross domestic product surged up by 3.4 percent in the third quarter compared to the previously estimated 3.5 percent jump. The pace of GDP growth had been expected to be unrevised.

After reporting a steep drop in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing a rebound in durable goods orders in the month of November.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders climbed by 0.8 percent in November after plunging by 4.3 percent in October. Economists had expected durable goods orders to jump by 1.6 percent.

Personal income in the U.S. increased by slightly less than expected in the month of November, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday, although the report also showed slightly stronger than expected personal spending growth.

The Commerce Department said personal spending edged up by 0.2 percent in November after climbing by 0.5 percent in October. Economists had expected personal income to rise by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said personal spending climbed by 0.4 percent in November after jumping by an upwardly revised 0.8 percent in October.

Personal spending had been expected to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

In commodities, crude oil futures for January delivery are up 0.13 or 0.28 percent at $46.01 a barrel.

Natural gas for January is up 0.081 or 2.26 percent at $3.664 per million btu.

Gold futures for February are down 6.10 or 0.48 percent at $1,261.80 an ounce.

Silver for January is down 0.134 or 0.90 percent at $14.735 an ounce.

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