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TSX Edges Higher After Shaky Start

The Canadian stock market is modestly higher Tuesday morning after a somewhat listless start. Energy, information technology and healthcare shares are leading the market up.

Consumer discretionary shares are weak, while financial, industrials and materials shares are turning in a mixed performance.

Worries about Chinese economy have slightly eased with the Chinese finance ministry and the central bank speaking about implementation of larger tax and fee cuts for small firms and manufacturers and adherence to prudent monetary policy to support growth.

Strong buying in energy stocks thanks to higher crude oil prices is aiding the market's rise to higher levels.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 35.14 points, or 0.23%, at 15,010.67, around 44 points off the day's low of 14,966.46.

The Capped Energy Index is up 1.5%. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) are up 1 to 2%, while Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.TO) is rising 2.6% and BayTex Energy Corp. (BTE.TO) is climbing up 3.7%.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is declining 3.7% after the company slashed its 2019 capital budget by 30%, citing recent decline in oil prices as the reason for the lower guidance.

Magna International Inc (MG.TO) is down 1.3% after the company announced that its 2019 revenue will be impacted by the sale of its fluid pressure and controls business and stronger dollar.

The Capped Information Technology Index is up nearly 1%. Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) is rising more than 3.5%, Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) is up 2.1%, CGI Group Inc. (GIB.A.TO) is advancing by 1.3% and Sierra Wireless Inc. (SW.TO) is adding 1.15%.

Among materials shares, Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) is down 1.7%, Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV.TO) is declining 1.1% and Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) is down 2.1%, while Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO) is advancing by 1.2% and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) is up 1.6%.

The Capped Healthcare Index is up 2.1%. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) is up 5.3%, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) is rising 2.3%, Bausch Health Companies is adding 1.2% and Extendicare (EXE.TO) is up 1.6%. Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) and Aphria (APHA.TO) are down 2.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

Among bank stocks, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) are down 0.4 to 0.5%, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is modestly higher.

In economic news, a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association said national home sales fell 2.5% in December, from a month earlier.

The U.S. stock indices are notably higher, with technology stocks turning in a fine performance.

On the U.S. economic front, a report released by the Labor Department showed a modest decrease in producer prices in the month of December. The report said the producer price index for final demand dipped by 0.2% in December after inching up by 0.1% in November. Economists had expected prices to slip by 0.1%.

A separate report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed New York manufacturing activity grew at its slowest pace in over a year in the month of January. The New York Fed said its general business conditions index slumped to 3.9 in January after tumbling to a revised 11.5 in December.

Asian markets ended mostly higher on Tuesday with investors reacting positively to Citigroup's results and news about China's measures to counter slowing growth. The Chinese finance ministry said that it would implement larger tax and fee cuts to help reduce burdens for small firms and manufacturers and the central bank said that it would stick with its prudent monetary policy to support growth.

Markets in Europe are mostly higher even as traders continue to watch the developments on the Brexit front.

In commodities, crude oil futures for February are up 1.16 or 2.3% at 51.67 a barrel.

Gold futures for February are down $2.75, or 0.21%, at $1,288.55.

Silver futures for March are down $0.091, or 0.58%, at $15,595 an ounce, while Copper futures for March are up $0.003, or 0.11%, at $2.638 per pound.

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