North American stocks retreated at the start of trading on Friday, following European stocks as investors reacted to weak German retail sales and rising unemployment in Spain.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 30 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,950. The broader S&P 500 fell 4 points or 0.3 per cent, to 1,371. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 40 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,684.
There wasn't much in the way of U.S. economic news for investors to chew on. Canada's economy expanded by 1.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, year-over-year, which was in line with expectations but down from a revised 4.2 per cent growth in the third quarter.
Coca-Cola Co. fell 0.8 per cent and Chevron Corp. fell 0.7 per cent – the latter following the price of crude oil, which dipped to $108.01 (U.S.) a barrel, down 83 cents. However, U.S. financials looked relatively strong, with Bank of America Corp. up 0.6 per cent.
In Canada, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.5 per cent. Bombardier Inc. fell 2.1 per cent, a day after the aerospace company was hit hard after reporting that plane deliveries were likely to be lower in 2012. However, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. rebounded 1.9 per cent. The engineering company fell sharply in trading earlier this week after warning that quarterly earnings were likely to be far lower than earlier estimates.
Royal Bank of Canada , which turned in gains on Thursday after reporting its fiscal first quarter results, rose another 0.3 per cent.