Stocks ended the week on a lacklustre note, with major indexes showing little change just days after investors lost their nerve over earnings disappointments.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,107.21, up 3.53 points or zero per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1411.94, down 1.03 point or less than 0.1 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,300.30, up 0.07 point or zero per cent.
This week had shown some volatility, with the Dow falling more than 240 points on Tuesday, when a series of disappointing quarterly reports rattled confidence in the global economy.
On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that growth in U.S. domestic product for the third quarter grew at an annual pace of 2 per cent. That is a little above the 1.8 per cent growth expected by economists and a significant improvement over growth of 1.3 per cent in the second quarter.
However, it is not seen as sufficiently strong to make any dent in U.S. unemployment. As well, a big part of the gain was due to government spending – defence spending in particular.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan consumer confidence index retreated to 82.6 from 83 in the last reading. Economists had been expecting a slight uptick in the index, to 83.1.
Apple Inc. fell 0.9 per cent, bringing its decline since September to more than 14 per cent – but it recovered from a sharper decline earlier in the day when the share price dipped below $600. The company reported disappointing earnings on Thursday after markets closed, with iPad sales in particular disappointing estimates – though consumers might have been holding out for newer and smaller versions.
Amazon.com Inc., which reported a loss on Thursday but a 27 per cent jump in sales, jumped 6.9 per cent.
Canadian banks were relatively unaffected by a warning from Moody’s Investors Service that it is reviewing the long-term credit ratings of six Canadian banks. Moody’s said that the review could lead to cuts as the ratings agency expressed concern about consumer debt, house prices and economic risks.
Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 0.1 per cent, Bank of Montreal rose 0.3 per cent and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.1 per cent. Royal Bank, downgraded by Moody’s earlier this year, was not on the review list. The shares fell 0.1 per cent.
Commodity prices were little changed. Gold fell to $1,711.90 (U.S.) an ounce, down $1.10. Crude oil rose to $86.28 a barrel, up 23 cents.
Among Canadian commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.1 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.3 per cent.