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Canada’s main stock index climbed higher to end a week constrained by concerns about sabre-rattling from the U.S. against China and more weak economic data.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 129.24 points at 14,638.90 as gains in energy and materials stocks offset losses in finance and industrials. However, the market is down 2.2 per cent for the week.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 60.08 points at 23,685.42. The S&P 500 index was up 11.20 points at 2,863.70, while the Nasdaq composite was up 70.84 points at 9,014.56.

Wall Street’s three major indexes closed higher after swinging between gains and losses on Friday as investors weighed worries about Sino-U.S. trade relations and weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data against growing optimism that easing coronavirus restrictions would boost activity this month.

Economic data painted a grim picture on Friday as U.S. retail sales and manufacturing output showed record declines in April due to virus-related stay-at-home orders.

The data came after U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up trade tensions with China by moving to block semiconductor shipments to China’s Huawei Technologies from global chipmakers. The trade worries sent the Philadelphia Semiconductor index down more than 2%.

China was swift to respond with a report saying it was ready to put U.S. companies on an “unreliable entity list,” according to the Global Times.

The combination of trade tensions and weak data had sent S&P 500 down around 1.3% earlier in the session but for much of the afternoon session it oscillated between positive and negative territory.

“We got the Friday jitters on China trade but late this afternoon the market turned its focus on reopenings,” said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio.

“We’re smack in the middle of May and think this might be the worst of the economic numbers. There’s a chance they start to slowly turn positive,” said Augustine citing moves by most states to at least partially reopen their economies.

For the week, the S&P 500 fell 2.3%, for its biggest weekly drop since the week of March 20. The Dow dropped 2.7% for the week while the Nasdaq declined 1.2%, marking their biggest weekly drops since the week ended April 3.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors closed higher, led by a 1.3% gain in communications services. Utilities was the weakest with a 1.4% drop followed by a 0.7% drop in financial stocks.

The small-cap Russell 2000 outperformed, with a 1.6% gain. One of its stocks, Sorrento Therapeutics Inc, closed 158% higher after its experimental antibody candidate showed potential in blocking COVID-19 infections in early studies.

The Canadian dollar traded for 70.95 cents US compared with an average of 70.97 cents US on Thursday.

The July crude contract was up US$1.64 at US$29.52 per barrel and the June natural gas contract was down 3.5 cents at US$1.65 per mmBTU.

The June gold contract was up US$15.40 at US$1,756.30 an ounce and the July copper contract was down 1.55 cents at US$2.33 a pound.

Read more: Stocks that saw action Friday - and why

Reuters, The Canadian Press

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