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Canadian Stocks Are Paring Early Gains - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market got off to a positive start Wednesday, but has since come off its early highs. The majority of the Canadian sectors are trading in the green this morning, following yesterday's weak performance. However, gold stocks are a notable exception this morning. Gold prices are falling as the U.S. dollar has increased in value.

The majority of the European markets are trading to the upside Wednesday. Automakers rallied after stronger-than-expected sales data for March. Investors continue to keep a close eye on the upcoming election in France. Opinion polls showed centrist independent Emmanuel Macron is leading the first round of French presidential election.

Markets in the United States are trading slightly higher Wednesday morning. On a light day for economic data, investors remain focused on corporate earnings. Morgan Stanley and Yahoo! posted better than expected results, while IBM reported disappointing quarterly revenues. Traders will also be watching for the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book later this afternoon.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 25.66 points or 0.16 percent at 15,648.23.

On Tuesday, the index closed down 62.32 points or 0.40 percent, at 15,622.57. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,659.35 and a low of 15,543.43.

The Capped Healthcare Index is higher by 0.97 percent. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) is gaining 2 percent and Extendicare (EXE.TO) is up 0.29 percent.

The Energy Index is rising 0.47 percent. Crude oil prices are little changed Wednesday morning, after industry data showed U.S. stockpiles dwindled slightly last week.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude inventories fell by 840,000 barrels in the week to April 14 to 531.6 million barrels, near record highs.

The U.S. EIA reported this morning that U.S. crude inventories dropped by 1 million barrels last week.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is higher by 0.66 percent and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is gaining 0.88 percent. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is up 0.07 percent and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is climbing 0.64 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 0.38 percent. Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is up 1.40 percent and BlackBerry (BB.TO) is rising 0.94 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is adding 0.49 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is up 0.32 percent. BCE (BCE.TO) is higher by 0.21 percent and Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is rising 0.91 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.28 percent. Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is rising 0.61 percent and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is adding 0.14 percent. Finning International (FTT.TO) is gaining 0.66 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.28 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is gaining 0.08 percent and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is up 0.88 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is higher by 0.41 percent and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is advancing 0.42 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is rising 0.13 percent and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is adding 0.18 percent.

The Gold Index is declining 1.43 percent. Gold prices are falling Wednesday morning slipping from a 5-month peak as the dollar rallied versus major rivals.

B2Gold (BTO.TO) is decreasing 0.53 percent and IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is weakening by 3.67 percent. Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) is down 1.41 percent and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is losing 1.33 percent. Goldcorp (G.TO) is dropping 1.90 percent and Kinross Gold (K.TO) is surrendering 2.14 percent. Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is also falling 2.38 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is down 0.72 percent. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is falling 0.40 percent and Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is losing 0.56 percent. Silver Wheaton (SLW.TO) is declining 1.19 percent.

Brookfield Business Partners announced that it will acquire 100 percent of Loblaw's (L.TO) gas station operations for C$540 million. Loblaw is now down 0.58 percent.

Parkland Fuel (PKI.TO) is climbing 6.73 percent. The company is buying Chevron Canada's fuel business for nearly $1.5 billion.

On the economic front, Eurozone inflation slowed as estimated initially to a three-month low in March, latest data from Eurostat showed Wednesday.

The harmonized consumer price index rose 1.5 percent year-on-year after 2 percent increase in February, which was the highest since January 2013. The figure was in line with its flash estimate released on March 31.

Eurozone trade surplus increased more-than-expected in February, as exports rose and imports fell, figures from Eurostat showed Wednesday. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus climbed to EUR 19.2 billion in February from EUR 15.7 billion in the previous month. Economists had expected the surplus to rise to EUR 18.5 billion.

British households' current financial pressures intensified in April, as rising inflation and subdued pay growth have created a renewed squeeze on cash available to spend, results of a survey by IHS Markit and market research company Ipsos Mori revealed Wednesday.

The seasonally adjusted Household Finance Index, of HFI, dropped 42.5 in April from 43.1 in March. This was one of the lowest readings seen since the summer of 2014.

In commodities, crude oil futures for May delivery are up 0.10 or 0.19 percent at $52.51 a barrel.

Natural gas for May is up 0.061 or 1.94 percent at $3.206 per million btu.

Gold futures for June are down $15.29 or 1.18 percent at $1,278.80 an ounce.

Silver for May is down $0.087 or 0.48 percent at $18.185 an ounce.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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