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TSX Flat As World Weighs U.S. Trade War -- Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks were flat Friday amid muted reaction to the war of words between the U.S. and its major trading partners.

Trump indicated that he plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

Canada's response: "We regard the implication of any new tariffs as absolutely unacceptable. I have spoken a number of times directly with the president on this issue … highlighting and reminding him of the close security cooperation we have and highlighting this is not something that we want to see."

In economic news, Canada's real gross domestic product grew 0.4% in the fourth quarter, the same rate as the previous quarter. GDP was up 1.7% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The TSX Composite Index was down 9.36 points to 15,384.59.

Energy stocks were little changed, as were banks. There was muted reaction to strong earnings reports from big banks this week.

Crude oil prices rose Friday, supported by a weaker U.S. dollar and a modest increase in the number of U.S. oil rigs in operation. However, prices fell this week amid speculation OP would increase production.

The U.S. rig count inched higher by one to a total of 800, the most in three years.

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