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S&P/TSX composite ends slightly down Friday; U.S. markets mixed

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index closed down slightly Friday while U.S. markets were mixed on a low-volume day following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 13.55 points at 20,103.11, as crude oil fell more than two per cent. 

"We've seen quite a bit of a volatility in oil recently," said Steve Locke, chief investment officer for fixed income and multi-asset strategies at Mackenzie Investments.

"The biggest change in perspective on energy has been that we've seen record supply coming out of the U.S. in crude oil production."

Oil has been largely on a downward slide since a September peak above US$90 a barrel, which has put pressure on oil and gas producers.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 117.12 points at 35,390.15. The S&P 500 index was up 2.72 points at 4,559.34, while the Nasdaq composite was down 15 points at 14,250.85. 

The Toronto Stock Exchange saw volumes at about half their average, while U.S. markets saw sharper drops in activity, a notable shift from some of the large swings seen in some recent sessions, said Locke.

"When you get to a day like this where there's less trading in the market, it's probably been a welcome relief given all the volatility."

The Black Friday shopping day saw Statistics Canada report September retail sales up 0.6 per cent, well above an expected flat month for retail sales.

Core retail sales — which exclude gasoline stations, fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers — fell 0.3 per cent in September.

"When we look into the other subcomponents of that index, there was certainly less strength and, perhaps even a little bit of weakness showing there," said Locke.

"What that tells us is that the Canadian consumer is feeling a number of pressures, certainly pricing of goods and services year over year, over year for the last couple of years, we've seen increases. And in addition to that, Canadian households are feeling the burden of the higher interest rates."

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.41 cents US compared with 73 cents US on Thursday.

The January crude oil contract was down US$1.56 from Wednesday's close at US$75.54 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down three cents at US$3 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$10.20 at US$2,003 an ounce and the December copper contract was up three cents at US$3.79 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

The Canadian Press

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