Canada’s main stock index and its American peers posted minor losses in a low-volume trading session on Friday ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 18.23 points to 16,164.31, with the gold sector leading major advancers.
The February gold contract was up $8.20 to US$1,278.80 an ounce.
South or the border, a subdued week of trading came to a close on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28.23 points to 24,754.06. The S&P 500 index inched down 1.23 points to 2,683.34 and the Nasdaq composite index gave back 5.40 points to 6,959.96.
“You really can’t read too much into market movements in a pre-holiday trading session today. The volumes are quite anaemic across the board,” said Ian Scott, equity analyst at Manulife Asset Management.
“U.S. volumes are down 27% from average volumes. Canadian volumes are off almost 25% from average volumes.”
In economic news, Statistics Canada reported Canada’s economy took a pause in October, with gross domestic product unchanged from the previous month. Analysts had estimated that Canada’s GDP would grow 0.2% from September, based on some of the recent October economic data released earlier this week by Statistics Canada.
In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading price of US78.38¢, down 0.15 of a U.S. cent.
On the cryptocurrency front, trading in Bitcoin futures was volatile after making gigantic gains throughout the year. Futures dropped as much as 28% before recovering some of their losses. Many economists and market watchers say bitcoin is a speculative bubble that is ready to burst any time.
Elsewhere in commodities, the February crude contract was up US11¢ to US$58.47 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was up US7¢ to US$2.66 per mmBTU. The March copper contract was up two¢ to US$3.24 a pound.
Canadian markets will be closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 26. American markets will be closed Dec. 25.
With a file from The Associated Press