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Equities

Canada’s main stock index started lower Friday, weighed down by weakness in energy stocks on the back of lower crude prices. Major U.S. indexes were also down with a disappointing subscriber forecast by Netflix hitting tech stocks.

At 9:30 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 164.73 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 20,893.45. That index is on track for its worst weekly showing since late last year.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.70 points, or 0.04 per cent, at the open to 34,701.69.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 11.35 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 4,471.38, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 107.80 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 14,046.22 at the opening bell. All three indexes are lower for the week.

“The inability of U.S. markets to hold onto yesterday’s move higher is a worry and could well indicate the potential for further losses in the coming days,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst with CMC Markets U.K., said in a note.

A disappointing forecast from streaming giant Netflix weighed on sentiment.

The company’s shares fell more than 20 per cent early Friday morning after it beat profit expectations but disappointed with its subscriber forecast. Netflix said it expects to add 2.5 million customers in the January-to-March quarter, far short of the 5.9 million that analysts had been forecasting. In the most recent quarter, Netflix added 8.3 million subscribers. Analysts had been looking for 8.4 million users.

In this country, investors got a weaker-than-expected reading on November retail sales. Statscan says sales rose by 0.7 per cent for the month. Economists had been expecting a gain of 1.2 per cent. In its report, Statscan also forecast a decline of 2.1 per cent in December. The agency also said it expects that number to be revised.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was down 1.88 per cent by midday. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.23 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 2.15 per cent and 1.98 per cent, respectively.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.90 per cent, paring bigger losses seen earlier in the session. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.05 per cent.

Commodities

Crude prices pulled back from seven-year highs after weekly inventory figures showed a rise in crude and fuel stocks.

The day range on Brent is US$85.71 to US$87.46. The range on West Texas Intermediate is US$83.88 to US$87.82.

On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. gasoline inventories rose by 5.9 million barrels to their highest since February 2021. Crude stocks rose by 515,000 barrels last week, against market forecasts.

“The oil market remains very tight and despite the EIA’s surprise build with crude oil inventories and greater than expected gasoline build, crude prices are poised to head higher,” OANDA senior analyst Ed Moya said.

In other commodities, gold prices were higher and headed for a second weekly rise as investors sought out safe-haven holdings.

Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at US$1,842.46 per ounce, as early Friday morning, edging toward Thursday’s two-month high of US$1,847.72. U.S. gold futures were flat at US$1,842.20 per ounce.

Currencies

The Canadian dollar was weaker, tracking global risk sentiment, while its U.S. counterpart held steady against world currencies.

The day range on the loonie is 79.75 US cents to 80.02 US cents.

“The CAD is modestly lower on the session but, all things—weaker stocks and crude—considered, the drop is quite modest,” Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist with Scotiabank, said in an early note.

On world markets, the U.S. dollar index, which weighs the greenback against a group of world currencies, edged 0.1 per cent lower on the day to 95.655 but was on course for a 0.5 per cent weekly gain, its best performance since mid-December, according to figures from Reuters.

Britain’s pound fell 0.2 per cent versus the U.S. dollar to US$1.35635, and as much as 0.5 per cent versus the euro to 83.61 pence per euro.

Risk-sensitive currencies were weaker. The Aussie and Kiwi both fell more than 0.5 per cent versus the dollar, last at US$0.71860 and US$0.67100.

More company news

Peloton Interactive Inc’s chief executive said on Thursday the company was reviewing the size of its workforce and “resetting” production levels, following a report earlier in the day that it was temporarily halting production of connected fitness bikes and treadmills after a significant drop in demand. “We now need to evaluate our organization structure and size of our team,” CEO John Foley said. “And we are still in the process of considering all options ... to make our business more flexible.” The stock was down about 18 per cent shortly after Friday’s opening bell.

Oil majors TotalEnergies and Chevron Corp., partners in a major gas project in Myanmar, said on Friday they were withdrawing from the country, citing the worsening humanitarian situation following last year’s coup., in its first public acknowledgment of the move, also said on Friday that it no longer held exploration licences in Myanmar as of last year.

Intel Corp will invest $20-billion in two new plants in Ohio to make advanced chips, the company said on Friday, the first step to a “mega-site” that can accommodate eight chip factories costing $100-billion. The planned investment includes 3,000 permanent jobs and 7,000 construction jobs on the 1,000-acre site in Licking County, just outside of Columbus. Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger is driving Intel plans to expand, especially in Europe and the United States, as it seeks to heat up competition with global rivals and respond to a world-wide microchip shortage.

Economic news

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canadian retail sales for November.

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canada’s new housing price index for December.

(10 a.m. ET) U.S. leading indicator for December.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press