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TSX Ends Slightly Higher

After opening on a weak note and staying notably down in negative territory till around mid afternoon, the Canadian stock market slowly crawled higher and eventually managed to settle slightly above the unchanged line on Friday.

Weak crude oil prices and data showing a slower pace of economic growth in the third quarter rendered the mood negative. A recovery on Wall Street amid optimism ahead of the much anticipated meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping pulled the market out of lower levels.

Data from Statistics Canada showed that GDP dropped 0.1% on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis from last month, when it rose 0.1%. The rate was forecast to remain unchanged.

On a year-on-year basis, GDP grew 0.5% in the third quarter, following a 0.7% increase in the second quarter.

The annualized rate of GDP slowed to 2% from 2.9% seen in the second quarter. Economists were looking for a growth of 2%.

Another report from Statistics Canada showed that the industrial product price index rose 0.2% month-on-month in October, unchanged from the previous month. Economists had forecast a 0.5% fall.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 3.78 points, or 0.02%, at 15,197.82. The index scaled a low of 15,125.42 and a high of 15,214.25 in the session.

Healthcare stocks moved higher. Energy stocks drifted lower, dragged by lower crude oil prices. Shares from all other sectors ended on a mixed note.

The Capped Healthcare Index gained nearly 1.5%. Bausch Health Companies Inc. (BHC.TO) advanced by 2.3%, Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) rose 1.2%, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) surged up 2.15% and Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) gained 1% - 2%.

In the energy space, Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) declined by 1.6%, Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) shed 3.2%, Imperial Oil Inc. (IMO.TO) ended 2.4% down and Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET.TO) ended lower by nearly 2%. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) ended 2.2% down,

Husky Energy (HSE.TO) gained over 3% and Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU.TO) edged up marginally, while PrairieSky Royalty Ltd. (PSK.TO) ended marginally down.

Gold stocks Goldcorp (G.TO), Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), B2Gold (BTO.TO) and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) ended lower by 1 to 3%.

Among bank stocks, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) declined 0.4%, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) ended lower by about 0.7% and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) shed 0.85%.

BRP Inc. (DOO.TO) shares gained over 7% after the company reported a 13% jump in third quarter revenue at $1.39 billion, slightly above analyst estimates, as the company benefited from strong demand and favourable currency exchange rates.

On Wall Street, stocks rebounded after early weakness and settled notably higher. The Dow, Nasdaq and the S&P 500, all gained about 0.8%.

Ahead of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. President Donald Trump said "I think we're very close to doing something with China, but I don't know that I want to do it because what we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs or taxes. So I really don't know."

"But I will tell you that I think China wants to make a deal. I'm open to making a deal," he added. "But, frankly, I like the deal we have right now."

In U.S. economic news, MNI Indicators released a report that showed a substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the month of November.

Markets in Europe and Asia ended mixed on Friday, with investors largely staying wary of building up positions ahead of the outcome of the G20 summit and the highly anticipated meeting of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

In commodities, crude oil futures for January settled at $50.93 a barrel, down $0.52, or 1%. Oil prices slipped to a low of $49.65 intraday. For the week, crude oil futures gained about 1%.

Gold futures for February ended down $4.40, or 0.36%, at $1,226.00 an ounce, while silver futures for March settled at $14.217 an ounce.

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