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Canadian Stocks Are Inching Higher In Early Trade - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market is up slightly at the start of the new trading week. Healthcare stocks are among the best performers this morning, while energy stocks are lagging behind due to the pullback in crude oil prices. Traders are also in a cautious mood ahead to the mid-week meeting of the Bank of Canada.

After a slight uptick at the start of the session, the majority of the European markets have now slipped into negative territory. Traders are in a cautious mood after the allied airstrikes carried out in Syria over the weekend.

Markets on Wall Street are modestly higher at the start of the new trading week. Traders are digesting a large number of U.S. economic reports this morning, including a better than expected retail sales report.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 33.55 points or 0.22 percent at 15,307.52.

On Friday, the index closed up 4.70 points or 0.03 percent, at 15,273.97. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,349.64 and a low of 15,254.85.

The Capped Healthcare Index is higher by 1.72 percent. Concordia International (CXR.TO) is climbing 1.56 percent and Extendicare (EXE.TO) is gaining 0.12 percent. Tecsys (TCS.TO) is also rising 0.73 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.47 percent. Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is up 0.70 percent and WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) is gaining 1.02 percent. Air Canada (AC.TO) is rising 1.09 percent.

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is climbing 0.70 percent. The company is having trouble in negotiations that would stave off a railroad worker strike before next week's deadline, according to reports.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is up 0.28 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is gaining 0.20 percent and BCE (BCE.TO) is rising 0.17 percent. Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is adding 0.46 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is up 0.24 percent. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is rising 0.32 percent and Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is higher by 1.06 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 0.26 percent. BlackBerry (BB.TO) is up 0.08 percent and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) is rising 0.34 percent. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is climbing 1.24 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.13 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is gaining 0.15 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is advancing 0.25 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is up 0.95 percent.

The Gold Index is increasing 0.08 percent. Gold prices are little changed Monday morning.

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is up 1.36 percent and Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) is climbing 0.21 percent.

The Energy Index is falling 0.41 percent. Crude oil prices are falling from 3-year highs Monday morning as traders booked profits following last week's big rally.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is falling 1.10 percent and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is down 0.06 percent. Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is losing 0.48 percent and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is lower by 0.97 percent. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is increasing 2.09 percent.

Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET.TO) is dropping 2.93 percent. The company said Monday that it agreed to buy Spartan Energy Corp. (SPE.TO) for total consideration of about $1.40 billion. The purchase price comprised of $1.23 billion in Vermilion shares plus the assumption of about $175 million in debt. Spartan Energy is dipping 0.16 percent.

On the economic front, Germany's wholesale prices increased at a steady pace in March, Destatis reported Monday. Wholesale prices grew 1.2 percent year-on-year in March, the same pace of increase as seen in February.

The average asking price of a house in the United Kingdom was up 0.4 percent on month in April, property tracking website Rightmove said on Monday - coming in at a record 305,732 pounds. That follows the 1.5 percent spike in March, and it beats the old mark of 304,943 set in July 2017.

With auto sales rebounding strongly, the Commerce Department released a report on Monday showing retail sales in the U.S. increased by more than anticipated in the month of March. The report said retail sales climbed by 0.6 percent in March after edging down by 0.1 percent in February. Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent.

A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday showed a notably slower pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity in the month of April.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index fell to 15.8 in April from 22.5 in March, although a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to drop to 18.6.

In commodities, crude oil futures for May delivery are down 0.60 or 0.89 percent at $66.79 a barrel.

Natural gas for May is up 0.043 or 1.57 percent at $2.778 per million btu.

Gold futures for June are up 3.90 or 0.29 percent at $1,351.80 an ounce.

Silver for May is up 0.077 or 0.46 percent at $16.735 an ounce.

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