GDP, Retail Sales Data To Set Early Trend On Bay Street

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( - The mood in the Canadian stock market may remain cautious on Friday with traders likely to largely stay away on the sidelines ahead of the weekend and the Christmas holiday on Tuesday. Energy and materials shares are likely to edge lower on weak commodity prices.

Concerns about a slowing Chinese economy and outlook for global growth will continue to weigh on sentiment. Also, with prospects of a government shutdown in the U.S. looking imminent, traders may stay wary of building up positions any significantly.

The market will also react to the data on Canadian GDP and retail sales for the month of October, due at 8:30 AM ET.

On Thursday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a loss of 122.29 points, or 0.86%, at 14,141.77, after having plunged 152.83 points, or 1.06%, a session earlier.

In company news, Enghouse Systems Limited (ENGH.TO) announced today that its board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 share split of its outstanding common shares.

Air Canada (AC.TO) 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) 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.

Asian markets ended weak on Friday, extending losses from previous session, amid growing worries over the prospects for the world economy. The Chinese market tumbled as fresh monetary support measures announced by the country's central bank failed to ease investor concerns over slowing economic growth.

European markets were trending lower on global growth worries.

In economic news from Europe, 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% annually in November following a 4.8% increase in October.

Meanwhile, 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. Economists had forecast a score of 10.3 for January.

In economic releases today, the U.S.Commerce Department's report on durable goods orders for November is due at 8:30 AM ET.

A report on the final measure of third quarter GDP is also due out at 8:30 AM ET.

University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for December and data on personal spending and income are due at 10:00 AM ET.

In commodities, crude oil futures for February were down $0.66, or 1.44%, at $45.22 a barrel.

Natural gas futures for January were rising $0.089, or 2.2%, at $3.663.

Gold futures for February were declining by $5.20, or 0.41%, at $1,262.70 an ounce.

Silver futures for March were down $0.139, or 0.93%, at $14.730 an ounce, while Copper futures for March were lower by $0.011, or 0.39%, at $2.686 per pound.

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