North American stock markets down in late-morning trading, loonie lower

Stocks edge lower as U.S.-China relations sour

Stocks - Dow Eases From Lows, but Sentiment Fragile as U.S.-China Tensions Flare

U.S. markets will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its lows of the day, and actually progressed to within 8.96 points of breakeven to end the week at 24,465.16.

Futures for the S&P 500 sailed 6.5 points, or 0.4%, higher at 2,943.50.

The S&P 500 ended the week about 35% above an intraday low set on March 23.

"I would just say that the grand reopening sale in the stock market happened already several weeks ago and so most of the bargains have been pretty well picked over by now", he said in an interview.

Enthusiasm over a coronavirus vaccine and the economy reopening was kept in check Friday, however, as tensions between China and the US rose.

Beijing's move to take over long-stalled efforts to enact national security legislation in semi-autonomous Hong Kong spooked investors in Asian markets who have endured months of pro-democracy demonstrations past year that at times descended into violence between police and protesters.

Also weighing on sentiment was news that China would drop its annual economic growth target for the first time. The gains came as investor optimism over a United States economic reopening counterbalanced renewed China concerns, capping off a volatile week of trading.

"But looking ahead, I would just argue that it's not going to be a one-way move and that the markets now are pricing in a lot of good news and I think that the upside from here is going to be more hard".

US and China trade tensions flared as the Trump administration raised concerns about China's plan to impose a new security law in Hong Kong that threatens the autonomy of the city.

The Nasdaq index is down about 5% from its February 19 record high, helped in recent weeks by gains in Microsoft, Amazon and other heavyweight companies seen coming out of the economic downturn stronger than their smaller rivals.

The tech sector has been a big victor from the coronavirus lockdowns even as some industries have struggled.

"After the shock of the Covid-19 lockdown, we have to go through a regular recession with high unemployment, low capex (capital expenditure), low demand and that's not what's priced in at the moment".

Health care was up 1.5 per cent as shares of Hexo Corp. surged 20.5 per cent and Cronos Inc. was up 8.5 per cent. Smaller rival Pinduoduo Inc's US-listed shares gained 1% after posting upbeat earnings report. The June gold contract was up US$13.60 at US$1,735.50 an ounce and the July copper contract was down 4.55 cents at almost US$2.39 a pound.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 2% to settle at $33.25 a barrel. The price has risen this month as oil producing nations cut back on output and the gradual reopening of economies around the globe have driven up demand.

In the US, energy (-2%) is the biggest sector decliner, with financials (-1.1%) also lagging. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond fell to 0.649%, from 0.677% Thursday. Alberta's Western Canadian Select fell about two-and-a-half per cent to US$24.02 per barrel.

Real estate led the S&P 500 sector indexes higher, while energy dropped as oil prices sank about 3%.

The major averages remained on pace for solid weekly gains.

Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Beijing's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, while a Chinese official said the country will not flinch from any escalation in tensions.

US commits $1.2 billion to possible British Covid-19 vaccine