TSX closes in the red, U.S. indexes mixed amid disappointing tech company earnings

TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed in the red Friday, while major U.S. indexes were mixed, with the Nasdaq significantly lower amid disappointing earnings from several big tech companies.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 7.20 points at 13,874.00, after having slipped 30 points the previous session.

In New York, disappointing earnings from several big technology companies weighed on markets, particularly the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which retreated 39.66 points or 0.8 per cent to 4,906.23.

Among the biggest losers were Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), whose shares fell $4 or 7.17 per cent to US$51.78, and Google parent company Alphabet (Nasdaq:GOOGL), off $42.23 or 5.41 per cent at US$737.77.

Meanwhile, coffee chain Starbucks (Nasdaq:SBUX) fell $2.96 or 4.88 per cent to US$57.68 after reporting disappointing sales growth for the first three months of the year.

Despite Nasdaq’s struggle, other New York markets managed to edge higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average adding 21.23 points to 18,003.75 and the broader S&P 500 gaining 0.1 of a point to 2,091.58.

Tom Siomades, head of Hartford Funds Investment Consulting Group, noted earlier in the session that absent major economic data, investors have been riding the ups and downs of earnings this week, although market swings haven’t been as volatile as earlier in the year.

“These mixed earnings that we’ve been getting … these mini rallies and mini sell-offs … are part of it,” Siomades, told The Associated Press.

At home, the Canadian dollar rose 0.35 of a U.S. cent to 78.92 cents US.

New economic data from Statistics Canada helped move the loonie higher, said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at 3MACS.

Statistics Canada released data Friday showing that overall, inflation cooled to 1.3 per cent in March from 1.4 per cent the previous month. However, core inflation, which excludes items like gasoline, rose to 2.1 per cent from 1.9 per cent.

A second report from the agency showed that retail trade numbers rose 0.4 per cent in February, outperforming expectations of analysts, many of whom expected a negative showing for the month.

The loonie finished up 0.35 of a U.S. cent at 78.92 cents US.

The commodity-sensitive loonie’s rise was also helped by an improvement in oil prices, said Nakamoto. It’s definitely positive for the loonie, he said.

The June contract for benchmark crude rose 55 cents to US$43.73 although still shy of the US$44.18 it hit Wednesday, a five-month high.

Nakamoto anticipates oil will reach the $50 mark this year, boosting the Canadian dollar’s exchange rate along with it.

Elsewhere in commodities, May natural gas shot up 7.2 cents to US$2.14 per mmBtu. May copper added 1.3 cents to US$2.26 a pound, while June gold bullion shed $20.30 to US$1,230.00 a troy ounce.

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