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TSX Shrugs Off Sluggish Start, Ends Notably Higher

The Canadian stock market shrugged off a sluggish start and moved higher to end on a positive note on Monday, led by gains in technology, consumer discretionary, healthcare and industrials sections.

Despite higher crude oil and gold prices, energy and materials stocks were mostly weak. Financial shares ended mixed.

Amid hopes the fresh round of talks between the U.S. and Chinese officials would help resolve the ongoing trade disputes between the two countries, Asian markets ended on a buoyant note today, and U.S. stocks ended higher as well despite paring some gains due to profit taking.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 77.51 points, or 0.54%, at 14,504.13, after scaling a low of 14,383.06 and a high of 14,515.12 in the session.

In economic news, Western University's IVEY School of Business said its Purchasing Managers Index registered 59.7 for December, compared to 57.2 the month before and 60.4 in December 2017.

The Capped Information Technology Index gained nearly 2.5%. Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) moved up 3.75%, Constellation Software Inc. (CSU.TO) gained 4.5%, BlackBerry (BB.TO) added 2.2%, Descartes Systems Group Inc. (DSG.TO) advanced by 3.4%, Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) ended 2.5% up, Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) added 2.5% and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) ended 1.1% up.

The Capped Healthcare Index ended nearly 2% up. Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) rose nearly 10%, Bausch Health Companies Inc. (BHC.TO) surged up 4.4%, Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) jumped nearly 4.5%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) soared 5.8%, Sienna Senior Living Inc. (SIA.TO) ended 1.25% up and Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) gained 1.1%.

The Capped Consumer Discretionary Index ended 2.15% up. Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GC.TO) ended nearly 5.5% up. Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR.TO), Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO), The Stars Group Inc. (TSGI.TO), Canada Goose Holdings Inc. (GOOS.TO) and Linamar Corporation (LNR.TO) gained 2 to 4%, while Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.A.TO), Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL.TO) and Magna International Inc. (MG.TO) gained 1.3 to 1.7%.

Among the shares in the industrials space, Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) gained up 2.2%, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) added 1.2%, CAE Inc. (CAE.TO) advanced by 1.8% and Toromont Industries (TIH.TO) surged up 3.1%.

In the consumer staples space, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B.TO), Metro Inc. (MRU.TO) and Empire Company (EMP.A.TO) gained 2 to 4%. Premium Brands Holdings Corporation (PBH.TO) and Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI.TO) also ended notably higher.

Among bank stocks, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) ended modestly lower. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) added 0.3%, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) ended 0.5% up and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) gained 1.4%.

Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO), Baytex Energy Corp. (BTE.TO), Inter Pipeline (IPL.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) ended notably higher.

B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO), Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO), Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO), Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) ended lower by 2 to 4%.

U.S. stocks ended higher, amid optimism about high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China in Beijing. The Dow rose by about 0.4%, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended stronger by 1.3% and 1.7%, respectively.

Traders largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of December. The ISM said its non-manufacturing index dropped to 57.6 in December after inching up to 60.7 in November.

"The non-manufacturing sector's growth rate cooled off in December," said Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "Respondents indicate that there still is concern about tariffs, despite the hold on increases by the U.S. and China."

Asian markets ended on a bright note on Monday amid optimism about U.S.-China trade talks.

The European markets ended mostly lower, failing to retain early gains. Investors were largely cautious as they looked ahead to the outcome of the high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China in Beijing.

In economic news from eurozone, retails sales in eurozone grew for a second straight month in November and at a faster-than-expected pace, supported by lower oil prices and rising wages.

Meanwhile, Eurozone's investor confidence deteriorated for a fifth straight month in January to its lowest level in over four years, but the easing was less severe than expected, survey data from the behavioral research institute Sentix showed on Monday.

In commodities, crude oil futures for February ended up $0.56, or 1.2%, at $48.52 a barrel, a long way down from the day's high of $49.79 a barrel.

Gold futures for February ended up $4.10, or 0.3%, at $1,289.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for March settled at $15.756 an ounce, down $0.030 from previous close. Copper futures for March ended at $2.637 per pound, down $0.010 from Friday's close.

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