Wall Street heads lower, but still on track for weekly gain

Wall Street heads lower, but still on track for weekly gain

Canada's main stock index capped a good week by moving slightly higher Friday amid escalating tensions between the USA and China. The S&P 500 is off by 0.13%, while the Nasdaq Composite treading water above breakeven from yesterday's close.

Investors have also greeted gradual steps by states to reopen their economies. Both finished up by more than 3 percent for the week.

US stocks rallied into the close of trading after whipsawing investors during a volatile week that featured optimism over the reopening of the economy and a renewal of trade tensions.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index were down 19.06 points, to move into noon hour Friday at 14,865.79.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened at 24,461.98 points, down 12.14 points, or 0.05 percent.

Traders remain wary, however, that the reopening of businesses could lead to another surge in infections, potentially hobbling efforts to get the nation's battered economy growing again.

The increasing rhetoric between Washington and Beijing has knocked Wall Street off multi-month highs, although the three main indexes still all rose around 3% for the week, fueled by optimism about an eventual coronavirus vaccine and the easing of virus-related curbs.

Still, some of the confidence that drove major indexes higher earlier in the week abated Thursday as investors parsed new data showing that about 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 16, continuing a sharp deterioration in the labor market. That law is projected to strengthen Beijing's hold over Hong Kong.

USA stocks wavered but remained on track for strong gains this week as states around the country eased coronavirus restrictions, boosting hopes about an economic recovery.

Oil prices fell, on track to snap a six-day winning streak. The heavyweight financial and energy sectors were the largest percentage decliners.

The July crude contract was down US$1.26 at US$32.66 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was up a little over a penny at almost US$1.87 per mmBTU. European markets shook off some early weakness and ended mixed.

"I still think this is going to be a hard period for oil because even if the economy is reopened, it doesn't mean that behaviourally people are just going to go back to the way things were".

The euro fell 0.47% at $1.0899 while the pound sterling slipped 0.32% at $1.2181.

Overnight, China released draft legislation over new national security measures on Hong Kong after last year's burst of anti-government protests in the city.

The proposed bill is aimed at forbidding secessionist and subversive activity, as well as foreign interference and terrorism.

The U.S. Commerce Department said late in the session that it is adding 33 Chinese companies and other institutions to a blacklist for human rights violations and to address U.S. national security concerns.

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