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The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended lower on Friday as Netflix shares weighed, but American Express kept the Dow afloat after quarterly earnings from both companies, while growing pessimism that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates soon also dented sentiment.

Canada’s main stock index outperformed Wall Street, as energy and interest rate sensitive shares notched gains. The S&P/TSX composite index ended up 98.93 points, or 0.5%, at 21,807.37, its third straight day of gains. For the week, it was down 0.4% after declining 1.6% in the previous week.

“It’s positive to see a bit of a bounce in interest rate sensitive stocks,” said Lorne Steinberg, president, Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management Inc. “We are probably going to get an interest rate cut (in Canada) sooner than they will in the U.S.”

Money markets see a roughly 50% chance the Bank of Canada will begin easing as soon as June, while they expect the Fed to wait until July or September.

U.S. equities have struggled recently following a five-month rally that started in November, in part due to expectations the Fed was likely to cut interest rates in the first half of the year.

But a recent string of hotter-than-expected inflation data, strong labour market data, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East that have sparked a rise in oil prices, and comments from Federal Reserve officials including Chair Jerome Powell has caused market participants to dial back the timing of any rate cut from the central bank.

“You’ve seen rate-cutting expectations just continue to come out of the market, and they should be because there’s nothing about the data that says they should cut,” said Mike Dickson, head of research and quantitative strategies at Horizon Investments in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“So in that environment when you’re sitting here near highs, that means it’s not going to be rates going down and multiples expanding because of that, that has to be driven by earnings growth. And so just the more the rate picture doesn’t look super-favorable for lower rates, even more important is the earnings growth picture.”

Communication services stocks tend to pay high dividends so they could particularly benefit from a move to rate cuts, which seems to be nearing in Canada. The sector rose 0.6% in Toronto Friday, helped by a gain of 1% for the shares of BCE Inc.

“We are quite bullish on BCE with a 9% dividend yield which we believe is sustainable,” Steinberg said.

Some other high dividend paying stocks, including banks and pipeline companies, also gained ground. The heavily-weighted financials index added 0.7% and Enbridge Inc was up 2.8%.

Energy in Toronto rose 0.6% as the price of oil settled 0.5% higher at US$83.14 a barrel after Iran played down a reported Israeli attack on its soil in a sign that an escalation of hostilities in the Middle East might be avoided.

Technology was the biggest drag on the Toronto market, ending 0.7% lower.

On Wall Street, Netflix slumped as one of the bigger drags on the benchmark S&P index and Nasdaq after the video streaming company’s second-quarter revenue view fell short of analysts’ expectations while the company also unexpectedly said it would no longer provide subscriber counts. It closed down 9%.

But the price-weighted Dow Industrials rose, thanks in part to a climb in American Express, after the payments company reported first-quarter profit that was above expectations. It closed up 6.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.02 points, or 0.56%, to 37,986.40, the S&P 500 lost 43.89 points, or 0.88%, to 4,967.23 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 319.49 points, or 2.05%, to 15,282.01.

For the week, the S&P 500 fell 3.05%, the Nasdaq declined 5.52%, and the Dow climbed 0.01%. The S&P suffered its biggest weekly decline since March 2023 and the Nasdaq its largest since the week of Oct. 31, 2022.

The S&P and Nasdaq have fallen for six straight sessions, the longest streak of declines for each since October 2022, with the S&P now down 5.46% from its closing record on March 28.

Progress on bringing down inflation has “stalled” this year, said Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, the latest U.S. central banker to drop an earlier focus on the coming need for interest rate cuts.

Chip-related stocks, some of the best performers of the year thanks to their association with artificial intelligence, also tumbled, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down 4.12%. The index recorded its biggest weekly percentage decline in nearly two years with a plunge of 9.23%.

Shares of Paramount Global surged 13.4% after a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management are discussing making a joint bid for the company.

On the NYSE advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by a 1.8-to-1 ratio and a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. There were 31 new highs and 86 new lows, while on the Nasdaq there were 34 new highs and 208 new lows. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.48 billion shares, compared with the 10.99 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Reuters, Globe staff

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