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Canadian Shares Flat After Slightly Positive Start

The Canadian stock market is quite sluggish Monday morning, with investors making cautious moves, weighing current global economic conditions and uncertainty about the outcome of upcoming high level U.S.-China trade negotiations.

European markets were exhibiting strength with traders picking up stocks after recent sharp losses.

After trade talks between the U.S. and Chinese official last week ended without any breakthrough, a fresh round of trade negotiations take place this week.

Preliminary lower level talks commenced today, and later in the week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, along with top officials are scheduled to be in Beijing for negotiations.

Despite crude oil's sharp plunge, a few stocks from the energy space are moving higher. Materials stocks are a bit weak, tracking lower bullion prices.

Healthcare shares are weak, while information technology shares are finding good support. Consumer discretionary, financial and industrial shares are mostly subdued.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which is swinging in a narrow range between 15,614.85 and 15,660.52, is currently down 9.70 points, or 0.06%, at 15,623.63.

On Friday, the index ended down 70.03 points, or 0.45%, at 15,633.00.

The Capped Healthcare Index is down 2.3%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) is down 5.8%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is declining nearly 4%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) is down 7.4%, Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) is lower by 3.7% and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) is declining 2%. Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) is rising 2.5% and Extendicare (EXE.TO) is gaining about 0.7%.

The Capped Information Technology Index is rising 0.85%. Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) is gaining nearly 2.5%, Kinaxis (KXS.TO) is jumping 3.5%, BlackBerry (BB.TO) is advancing 1.2%, Sierra Wirelss (SW.TO) is moving up 2.1% and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) is up 2%.

Among bank stocks, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is down 0.3%, while the rest are moving around their previous closing levels.

In the energy space, Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) is declining nearly 3%, Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) is down 0.75% and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is down marginally.

Among gold stocks, Kinross Gold (K.TO), Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) are weak.

Trilogy Metals Inc. (TMQ.TO) reported full year net loss of $21.8 million, or $0.18 basic and diluted loss per common share, compared to a net loss of $21.1 million, or $0.20 basic and diluted loss per common share, a year earlier. The stock is hovering around previous closing price.

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR.TO) shares are up 3.25% after the company reported adjusted Diluted EPS of $2.63 versus $2.10 in prior year.

SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC.TO) is down nearly 5% after the company warned that its profit for 2018 will be even lower than it cautioned last month, due to problems at an unidentified mining project in Latin America.

Solium Capital Inc. (SUM.TO) shares are soaring 43% after Morgan Stanley (MS) announced today that it agreed to acquire Solium Capital Inc to create an industry leader in workplace wealth solutions and stock plan administration services. Morgan Stanley will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Solium for C$19.15 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of about C$1.1 billion or $0.9 billion.

In commodities, crude oil futures for March are down $1.06, or 2.01%, at $51.66 a barrel.

Gold futures for April are declining $5.60, or 0.43%, at $1,312.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for March are down $0.096, or 0.61%, at $15.713 an ounce, while Copper futures for March are down $0.022, or 0.75%, at $2.789 per pound.

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