Stock markets in Canada’s largest centre at the open on Friday, with energy stocks in the lead as investors digested U.S. economic data that offered evidence of cooling inflation.

The TSX Composite weakened 3.23 points to begin the last session before Christmas at 19,346.43.

The Canadian dollar subsided 0.04 cents at 73.29 cents U.S.

Among individual stocks to look out for, the federal government awarded CAE Inc. and Britain’s Leonardo U.K. Ltd of Yeovil two

contracts valued at up to $1.24 billion to support the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter fleet, which contributes to search and rescue operations. CAE shares lost 22 cents to $25.80.

CIBC cut AutoCanada to “neutral” from “outperformer”. AutoCanada shares let go of a penny to $22.58.

Canadian markets will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday next week, owing to Christmas and Boxing Day observances.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada said this country’s GDP edged up 0.1% in October as growth in services-producing industries was partially offset by declines in goods-producing industries.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange pointed downward 0.22 points to 567.04.

All but two of the 12 subgroups were negative in Friday’s first hour, with information technology down 1.4%, health-care off 1.3%, and gold sliding 0.8%.

The two gainers were energy, rumbling 1.5%, and financials, eking up 0.03%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell Friday, building on the sharp losses from the previous session as Wall Street heads for a losing week.

The Dow Jones Industrials gave back 54.7 points to commence trading Friday at 32,972.79.

The S&P 500 let go of 1.33 points at 3,821.06.

The NASDAQ Composite Index lost 48.19 points to 10,427.93.

The major indexes oscillated Friday morning after the core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of inflation, came in slightly hotter than economists expected on a year-over-year basis, indicating that inflation is sticking despite the Fed’s efforts to fight it.

The S&P 500 is now down more than 1% for the week, on pace for its third-straight weekly decline. The NASDAQ, meanwhile, has lost 3% this week. The Dow has been the outperformer this week, currently on track for a less than 1% loss.

Recession fears have resurged recently dashing some investors’ hope for a year-end rally and leading to big losses in December. Investors worry that overtightening from central banks worldwide could force the economy into a downturn.

For December, the S&P 500 has lost about 5%, while the Dow has shed 6% and NASDAQ has lost more than 9%. Those would be the biggest monthly declines for the major averages since September.

Stocks are also on pace for their worst annual performance since 2008.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury wilted, raising yields to 3.73% from Thursday’s 3.68%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices vaulted $2.21 to $79.70 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices heightened $4.70 to $1,800.00 U.S. an ounce.

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