TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks closed flat on Friday after a choppy session in which stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data fought with limp U.S. earnings for the attention of a market that was waiting for the Canadian reporting season to start in earnest next week.
“A lot of people who have positioned themselves are really just waiting for the news (to) see how things are going to come out on this side of the border,” said Brian Pow, vice president, research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary, adding that disappointing results from U.S. companies have been setting the market’s tone.
“Most people are trying to really figure out what the end of the year brings, what the results are going to be, and until they get an initial sense, I think they’re going to be a little bit more cautious,” Pow said.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed 0.07 of a point higher at 12,300.30. On the week, it was down just under 1 percent.
Five of the TSX’s index’s main groups were lower, including the financial, energy and materials sectors, which together make up roughly three-quarters of the index’s weight. Energy was down 0.24 percent, while materials was off 0.27 percent. Financials were nearly flat, sliding a mere 0.04 percent.
Heavyweight decliners included diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO, which shed 2.17 percent to finish at C$31.04, and oil producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO), which fell 0.77 percent to C$29.70.
Heavyweight gainers included pipeline company Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), which closed up 0.95 percent, at C$39.40, and telecom Telus Corp (T.TO), which rose 1.43 percent to C$63.31. Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) finished 1.66 percent higher at C$44.18.
The overall telecoms group was up 0.81 percent.
Sentiment was helped by U.S. data that showed gross domestic product expanded at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter as a late burst of consumer spending outweighed the first cutbacks in business investment in more than a year. GDP growth in the second quarter was 1.3 percent.
“My impression is that the U.S. GDP data has given stocks some reprieve after weakness in overseas markets and generally disappointing corporate earnings,” said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.
“The technical backdrop (for U.S. stocks) has worsened and there are significant uncertainties in the next couple of weeks, so there’s a real reason to trim risk ahead of the U.S. election,” Smith said.
Additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Peter Galloway