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Canadian Stocks Are Up After BoC Remains On Hold - Canadian Commentary

The Canadian stock market is up slightly in early trade Wednesday morning. The rise in commodity prices has provided a boost to the energy and gold sectors. The Bank of Canada also left its overnight rate target unchanged at 1.75 percent this morning.

Markets in Europe are rising Wednesday, adding to their gains from the previous session.

Markets on Wall Street are up slightly in early trade Wednesday. News that trade talks between U.S. and Chinese officials were extended to a third day has added to recent optimism about a potential trade deal. However, trading activity is somewhat subdued ahead of the release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 73.90 points or 0.51 percent at 14,679.05.

On Tuesday, the index closed up by 101.02 points or 0.70 percent, at 14,605.15. The index scaled an intraday high of 14,645.61 and a low of 14,533.89.

The Gold Index is increasing 1.17 percent. Kinross Gold (K.TO) is up 0.47 percent and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is climbing 1.78 percent. Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) is rising 0.46 percent and Goldcorp (G.TO) is advancing 1.94 percent. IAMGOLD (IMG.TO) is higher by 1.18 percent and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) is gaining 2.19 percent. B2Gold (BTO.TO) is adding 1.31 percent.

The Capped Materials Index is up 1.18 percent. Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) is gaining 1.06 percent and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) is rising 1.58 percent.

The Capped Information Technology Index is gaining 1.07 percent. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is climbing 0.56 percent and BlackBerry (BB.TO) is advancing 0.20 percent. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is adding 1.54 percent.

The Capped Industrials Index is up 0.71 percent. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is higher by 0.50 percent and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) is advancing 0.51 percent. WestJet Airlines (WJA.TO) is rising 1.11 percent and Air Canada (AC.TO) is gaining 0.23 percent. Finning International (FTT.TO) is adding 0.61 percent and Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) is climbing 2.80 percent.

The heavyweight Financial Index is increasing 0.45 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is climbing 0.52 percent and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is up 0.97 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) is higher by 0.39 percent and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is adding 0.54 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is rising 0.37 percent and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is adding 0.45 percent.

The Energy Index is rising 0.30 percent. Husky Energy (HSE.TO) is advancing 2.55 percent and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is gaining 0.55 percent. Enbridge (ENB.TO) is adding 0.02 percent.

The Capped Telecommunication Services Index is down 0.50 percent. TELUS (T.TO) is losing 0.56 percent and Rogers Communications (RCI-B.TO) is falling 0.45 percent. BCE (BCE.TO) is lower by 0.71 percent.

Pattern Energy Group Inc. (PEGI.TO) is falling 1.15 percent after it announced the completion of sale of the Company's 90 megawatt minority owned interest in the K2 Wind power facility in Ontario for a purchase price of CAD$216.0, to a consortium of investors led by Axium Infrastructure.

Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) is up 0.24 percent after it announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of CC Pharma GmbH, a leading distributor of pharmaceutical products to more than 13,000 pharmacies in Germany, as well as throughout Europe. Aphria also announced that it has completed its first shipment of medical cannabis to Shoppers Drug Mart.

EXFO Inc. (EXF.TO) is rising 1.72 percent after it announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program, by way of a normal course issuer bid on the open market, of up to approximately 6.3% of the public float of subordinate voting shares. The company reported first quarter 2019 net loss of US$7.5 million, or US$0.14 per share, compared to net earnings of US$2.7 million, or US$0.05 per share, in the first quarter of 2018.

On the economic front, a report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. this morning showed that Canadian housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 213,419 units in December, down from 224,349 units in November. Economists had expected a rate of 205,000 units.

Eurozone unemployment rate unexpectedly eased in November to its lowest level in more than a decade, figures from Eurostat showed on Wednesday. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate eased to 7.9 percent from 8 percent in October. Economists had expected the rate to remain unchanged.

Germany's merchandise trade surplus grew in November to its biggest level in five months as imports fell unexpectedly, and exports decreased, giving further evidence of a slowdown in the biggest euro area economy.

The non-adjusted trade surplus grew to EUR 20.5 billion from EUR 18.9 billion in October, preliminary data from the Federal Statistical Office showed on Wednesday. Economists had expected a surplus of EUR 18.6 billion.

In commodities, crude oil futures for January delivery are up 1.55 or 3.11 percent at $51.33 a barrel.

Natural gas for January is up 0.004 or 0.13 percent at $2.971 per million btu.

Gold futures for February are up 5.79 or 0.45 percent at $1,291.70 an ounce.

Silver for January is up 0.087 or 0.55 percent at $15.80 an ounce.

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