Canadian stocks were little changed Friday morning as traders ignored positive data from both sides of the Atlantic. U.S. consumer sentiment improved by more than previously estimated in the month of May, while confidence among German consumers is set to remain stable in June, according to a GfK report.
Meanwhile, Germany is developing a six-point plan for boosting growth in Europe, according to media reports.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index eased 13.82 points or 0.12 percent to 11,552.25, after adding nearly 300 points or 3 percent in the past three sessions.
The price of crude oil was hovering just over $90 Friday morning as traders await more clarity on the euro zone developments. Crude for July edged up $0.38 to $91.04 a barrel.
In the oil patch, Bonterra Energy (BNE.TO), Tourmaline Oil (TOU.TO) and Ecopetrol S.A (ECP.TO) shed around 2 percent each
Financial stocks were under pressure amid lingering worries over the health of European banks. Royal Bank (RY.TO), Scotiabank (BNS.TO) and TD Bank (TD.TO) were down around 2 percent each.
Aerospace and industrial products maker Heroux-Devtek (HRX.TO) slipped 1 percent despite reporting improved fourth quarter net income of C$9.00 million or C$0.29 per share compared to C$8 million or C$0.26 per share, a year earlier.
Specialty food products company SunOpta Inc. (SOY.TO) eased nearly 1 percent after it said it would sell its Canadian natural health products distribution business, operated as Purity Life Natural Health Products, to an affiliate of Banyan Capital Partners for C$14.7 million.
Metals distribution and processing company Russel Metals Inc. (RUS.TO) was down 1 percent after it said it would acquire Alberta Industrial Metals Ltd., a metals distribution and processing service center, for $30 million.
Meanwhile, gold stocks were trading higher. The price of gold was steady Friday morning as the euro was struggling to level off from its 2-year low versus the U.S. dollar. Gold for June gained $8.20 to $1,565.70 an ounce.
Among gold plays, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), Goldcorp. (G.TO) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) moved up around 2 percent each.
In economic news, latest survey by the Conference Board of Canada revealed consumer confidence surging across the country. The Board said its May index shot up 5.8 points to 80.8, sharply reversing a relatively poor performance in April.
From south of the border, a report released by Reuters and the University of Michigan showed that the consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 79.3 from the mid-month reading of 77.8. The upward revision surprised economists, who had expected the index to come in unchanged.
From the euro zone, confidence among German consumers is set to remain stable in June, as the country's vibrant labor market and export gains shielded the economy from the turbulent economic conditions in the rest of euro zone. The consumer confidence index for June was at 5.7, unchanged from the revised reading of May. The May score was revised from 5.6 reported previously. Consumers are considerably more optimistic in May than in the previous month and the willingness to buy also improved slightly, GfK said in its latest report.
by RTT Staff Writer
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