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Canada’s main stock index finished flat on Friday despite gains in the technology sector and among marijuana producers.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 11.78 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 16,013.49.

The index was led by a 3.8-per-cent jump in the health care sector. Canopy Growth Corp. rose 7.4 per cent, while Aphria Inc. rose 13 per cent. Aurora Cannabis Inc. increased 2.9 per cent

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The information technology sector increased 0.3 per cent. Open Text Corp. rose 1.2 per cent, while Celestica Inc. and Evertz Technologies Ltd. finished up 0.6 per cent.

Consumer staples lost 0.8 per cent, led by a 3.6-per-cent decline in Empire Company Ltd. and a 1.5-per-cent drop in Loblaw Companies Ltd.

The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as the greenback rose broadly, but the loonie was on course for its best weekly performance in nearly three months.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.3 per cent lower at $1.3037 to the greenback, or 76.70 U.S. cents.

The currency, which on Thursday touched its strongest in two weeks at $1.2976, traded in a range of $1.2984 to $1.3053.

“Generally firmer” U.S. data and a lack of domestic impetus weighed on the loonie, said Mark Chandler, head of Canadian fixed income and currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of currencies, rebounding from a near 1-1/2-month low, as upbeat U.S. economic data and higher Treasury yields rekindled some investor appetite for the greenback.

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The decline for the loonie came as U.S. President Donald Trump instructed aides to proceed with tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese products.

Canada exports many commodities and runs a current account deficit, so its economy could be hurt if the global flow of trade or capital slows.

A world stock index climbed as bank and energy shares rose on Friday, but the momentum was sapped by a report that Washington may fire a new salvo in its trade war with Beijing.

U.S. President Donald Trump has directed aides to place U.S. tariffs on about $200-billion more of Chinese goods, according to a person familiar with the matter. This was first reported by Bloomberg.

That news deflated the confidence of investors, who earlier pushed the MSCI All-Country World index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, to its highest level since Sept. 4. The index rose 0.22 per cent on the day.

On Wall Street, financial shares were helped by higher rates, which are seen to benefit banks, which can charge higher interest. Energy stocks got a boost from rising U.S. oil prices.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.68 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 26,154.67, the S&P 500 gained 0.8 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 2,904.98 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.67 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 8,010.04.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes briefly hit the psychologically significant 3 percent level for the first time in more than a month as prices on U.S. government bonds fell on economic data that seems solid enough to support plans by the Federal Reserve to raise rates another two times in 2018.

U.S. crude oil futures settled up 0.58 per cent to $68.99 per barrel. Brent fell 0.12 per cent to $78.09. The United States is renewing sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer, after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers.

The U.S. dollar index rose 0.47 per cent. The greenback has been a safe haven from setbacks on the trade front.

Copper, used heavily by China, lost 2.11 per cent to $5,905.50 a tonne. The Chinese yuan traded offshore slipped to 6.88 per dollar from a high of 6.84 earlier in the session.

Chinese shares earlier had retreated as data showed real estate investment in the country fell in August, raising concern that a cooling property market could increase risks for Beijing’s economic outlook as the trade environment worsens.

“While the potential for a trade deal in the near-term remains low, a resumption of dialog could lift sentiment and support markets,” analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a note to clients.

A sharp interest rate increase by Turkey’s central bank to support a tumbling lira boosted emerging markets. The bank hiked its benchmark interest rate by more than one-third, to 24 per cent.

Currency crises in both Turkey and Argentina have stoked fears of contagion over the past several weeks, hammering emerging market assets from Indonesia and India to South Africa.

Turkish lira implied volatility gauges fell to their lowest in more than a month, as sentiment continued to improve.

“The bold decision (by Turkey’s central bank) reduces the risk that a full-scale financial crisis may unfold,” analysts at Rabobank wrote in a note to clients.

“The central bank’s efforts must be accompanied by an implementation of constructive macro prudential policies by the administration.”

Emerging market stocks tracked by MSCI rose 0.96 per cent.

Reuters

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