Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, on Friday lost 62 points at 16,438.75, thus losing all of the gains made on Thursday, when a two day losing streak out of Monday's Thanksgiving Holiday was ended. In comparison, in the United States, the S&P 500 was little changed, while the Dow Jones and NASDAQ both made modest gains of near 0.4%. Volumes across North America were light.
Perhaps, investors are waiting for the earnings seasons in both Canada and the United States to really get going from next week for clues as to the health of the economies in this region, and the outlook.
Meanwhile, the usual subjects continued to cast a shadow over investor sentiment. They include uncertainty around US stimulus and the coming Presidential election; rising COVID-19 cases and some impatience in the wait for a vaccine; and concerns around knock on effects stemming from the UK's exit from the European Union.
Among sectors here, Financials were marginally higher. But Materials was down 1.2% and Energy down near 0.9%. Even market darling Shopify (SHOP.TO, SHOP) was impacted by a sell out of Tech stocks, losing about 1.2%
In news related to e-commerce giant Shopify, a report published by S&P Global Ratings said e-commerce has helped Canadian food retailers support their competitive advantage, bolstering their strong presence and banner diversity. The lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have also favored grocers and supermarkets because of the essential nature of food retail. it added.
The commentary, "Canadian Grocers: Are They Ready For The Next Stage Of E-Commerce?," discusses the change in the Canada's e-commerce landscape before and in the wake of the pandemic, specifically for food retailers.
"Existing e-commerce platforms, their integration with physical stores combined with ongoing investments, and knowledge gained from earlier shutdowns in the pandemic should help some Canadian retailers, in particular grocers, win market share," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Aniki Saha-Yannopoulos.
Of commodities, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil ended slightly lower on Friday as demand hopes dimmed with Covid-19 infections on the rise globally as the United States reported its highest number of new infections since August. WTI oil for November delivery closed down $0.08 to US$40.88 per barrel, Marketwatch reported. Brent oil, the global benchmark, was last seen down $0.24 to US$42.92 while Western Canada Select was up $0.04 to US$31.81 per barrel. The drop came as demand remains lackluster amid the pandemic, with air travel still hobbled, employees working from home and new lockdown measures being introduced in European cities. OPEC+ is expected to face pressure to back off plans to boost production by nearly 2-million barrels per day in January, on concerns the higher production will raise global inventories and lower prices.
Elsewhere, gold edged lower on Friday even as the U.S. dollar weakened as investors looked to add risk. Gold for December delivery closed down $2.50 to US$1,906.40 per ounce in Comex trade. The price of the metal has been range bound for weeks, trading between $1,850 and US$1,950 as it tracks the U.S. dollar but has little incentive to break out in either direction, particularly after talks for a new fiscal stimulus package in the United States appear to have broken down.