Canadian Stocks Are Adding To Yesterday's Gains - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market is rising in early trade Friday, extending the sharp gains from the previous session. Energy stocks are leading the way higher this morning, as crude oil prices rebound.

Economic concerns, trade war tensions and U.S. political uncertainty may force investors to remain cautious. Trading activity is likely to be thin ahead of the upcoming New Year's holiday.

Markets in Europe are regaining some of their recent losses Friday. Traders were encouraged after markets on Wall Street rebounded sharply on Thursday after an initial setback.

Markets on Wall Street are inching higher in early trade Friday. Trading activity has been relatively subdued this morning, following the recent volatility in the markets. The markets may benefit from window dressing as the year draws to a close.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 52.14 points or 0.37 percent at 14,217.35.

On Thursday, the index closed up by 385.02 points or 2.79 percent, at 14,165.21. The index scaled an intraday high of 14,165.52 and a low of 13,918.28.

The Energy Index is rising 1.66 percent. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is increasing 1.08 percent and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is higher by 1.43 percent. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is rising 1.53 percent and Enbridge (ENB.TO) is adding 0.70 percent. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is gaining 1.81 percent and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) is advancing 1.12 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is up 1.09 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is gaining 0.80 percent and BCE (BCE.TO) is advancing 0.82 percent. Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is rising 0.88 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.77 percent. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is higher by 0.77 percent and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is advancing 0.86 percent. WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) is climbing 1.58 percent and Air Canada (AC.TO) is adding 0.64 percent. Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) is gaining 2.12 percent and Finning International (FTT.TO) is rising 1.23 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.58 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is rising 1.38 percent and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is gaining 0.47 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is climbing 0.38 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is up 0.33 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is advancing 0.55 percent and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is higher by 0.76 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is losing 0.41 percent. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is falling 1.91 percent.

The Gold Index is decreasing 0.36 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is lower by 1.77 percent and Kinross Gold (K.TO) is down 0.91 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is down 0.32 percent. Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is weakening 0.68 percent and Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is losing 0.15 percent. Nutrien (NTR.TO) is falling 1.88 percent.

Ensign Energy Services Inc. (ESI.TO) and Trinidad Drilling Ltd. (TDG.TO) announced that Trinidad has commenced a change of control offer to purchase any and all of its outstanding Senior Notes due 2025, at a price in cash equal to 101% of the principal amount of the Notes repurchased plus accrued and unpaid interest. Ensign is gaining 3.13 percent.

Aphria (APHA.TO) is surging 10.04 percent. Green Growth, the U.S. cannabis retailer is reported to have said on Thursday that it would make a hostile takeover bid for Aphria in an all-stock deal valuing the Canadian firm at C$2.8 billion. Green Growth would offer 1.5714 shares for each Aphria share, representing a premium of 45.5% over Aphria's closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange on December 24.

On the economic front, Germany's consumer price inflation slowed sharply in December to its lowest level in eight months, figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Friday. The consumer price index rose 1.7 percent year-on-year following a 2.3 percent increase in November. Economists had forecast an inflation rate of 1.9 percent.

Growth in Chicago-area business activity pulled back in December after accelerating sharply in November, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday, although the pace of growth slowed by much less than anticipated.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer dipped to 65.4 in December after spiking to 66.4 in November, with a reading above 50 still indicating growth in regional business activity. Economists had expected the barometer to drop to 62.0.

In commodities, crude oil futures for January delivery are up 0.38 or 0.85 percent at $44.99 a barrel.

Natural gas for January is down 0.178 or 5.02 percent at $3.368 per million btu.

Gold futures for February are down 0.40 or 0.03 percent at $1,280.70 an ounce.

Silver for January is up 0.11 or 0.72 percent at $15.42 an ounce.

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