Canada's main stock index gained almost 100 points Friday, while U.S. markets mostly held on to their gains after soaring the day before. 

This was a strong week for earnings, with a focus on chipmaker Nvidia and its "halo effect" on markets, said Tamsin Wilding, principal and portfolio manager for fixed income at Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.

Nvidia reported earnings after the bell on Wednesday that prompted a strong rally across markets the next day. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow notched new records. 

Markets mostly held on to those gains Friday as earnings continued to roll in. The S&P 500 and the Dow both edged higher, again to new records, while the Nasdaq took a small step lower. 

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 62.42 points at 39,131.53. The S&P 500 Index was up 1.77 points at 5,088.80, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 44.80 points at 15,996.82.

This week, investors also continued to pare back their expectations for interest rate cuts, said Wilding, continuing to bring them more in line with what the U.S. Federal Reserve has said it expects for 2024. The central bank previously said it expects to cut three times this year, but markets were anticipating more than that and have had to ease their bets over the past couple of months.

Markets are currently pricing in the likelihood of the Fed holding rates steady in both March and May, while cuts look more likely in June and the following months, according to data from CME Group. 

Equity markets are becoming more comfortable with the narrative that rates will stay higher for a little longer, said Wilding. 

If this week was largely about earnings in the U.S., next week will be more about economic data as investors will watch for the latest core PCE report, an inflation gauge preferred by the Fed. 

"I think the market’s potentially a little bit nervous about some of that CPI strength bleeding into core PCE, which would further delay rate cuts,” said Wilding.

“I think the Fed’s waiting to see that validation of inflation progress continue.” 

Next week will also see the latest GDP numbers in Canada. 

The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 95.07 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 21,413.15.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.11 cents U.S., unchanged from Thursday.

The April crude contract was down US$2.12 at US$76.49 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was down 13 cents at US$1.70 per mm/BTU.

The April gold contract was up US$18.70 at US$2,049.40 an ounce and the May copper contract was down one cent at US$3.90 a pound.

With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.