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Canadian Shares Holding Gains After Steady Start

The Canadian stock market got off to a firm start on Monday, led by gains in energy and information technology shares. The overall mood, however, remains a bit cautious due to global growth concerns.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 74.10 points, or 0.47%, at 16,070.31, after advancing to a high of 16.110.18.

On Friday, the index ended down 60.30 points, or 0.38%, at 15,996.21, well off the day's low of 15,891.94.

Thanks to higher crude oil prices, energy shares are moving up. The Capped Energy Index is gaining about 1.1%. Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO),

Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) is rising nearly 2.5%, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is advancing 2.3%,

ARC Resources (ARX.TO) is declining 3.2% after S&P Dow Jones Indices removed the stock from the S&P/TSX 60 Index.

The Capped Information Technology Index is up 1.1%. CGI Inc. (GIB.A.TO) is gaining about 07%. The company announced an all-cash tender offer of 41.45 Swedish kronor per share to acquire Acando AB, a Stockholm-based management and IT consulting services firm. The offer represents a total price of 4.32 billion kronor for Acando, including the assumption of 93 million kronor in net debt corresponding to approximately C$614.7 million.

Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) is gaining 3.7% following the inclusing of the stock in the S&P/TSX 60 index.

Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) is advancing nearly 2% and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) is rising 1.7%, while Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) is declining 2.8%.

Bank stocks are mixed. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) are down marginally. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) are up slightly, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) is gaining about 0.35%.

In the industrials space, Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO), Thomson Reuters Corporation (TRI.TO) and Toromont Industries (TIH.TO) are gaining 0.6 to 1%.

Among the shares from the materials section, Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) is rising 2.6%. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Newmont Mining have signed a deal to create a joint-venture that will combine the two companies' mining operations in Nevada. As per the deal, Barrick will be the operator and will hold a 61.5% stake in the joint venture, while Newmont will own 38.5%.

Gold Corp. (G.TO) and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) are up 1% and 1.1%, respectively. Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM.TO) and Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) are down 0.7 to 1.1%.

U.S. stocks are up in positive territory despite paring some early gains. The Dow is up just 0.1% after shares of Boeing dropped sharply following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday.

However, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 up notably higher, gaining 1.1% and 0.7%, respectively.

The market is benefiting from the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected uptick in U.S. retail sales in January.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose by 0.2 percent in January after tumbling by a revised 1.6 percent in December.

Economists had expected retail sales to come in unchanged compared to the 1.2 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

Most of the markets in Europe are up with modest gains as media reports suggesting that Deutsche Bank has begun tentative merger talks with rival Commerzbank helped investors shrug off global growth worries.

Asian markets ended a mixed on Monday as global growth worries offset hopes for policy support from China.

In commodities, crude oil futures for April are gaining $0.47, or 0.84%, at $56.54 a barrel.

Gold futures for April are declining $5.80, or 0.45%, at $1,293.50 an ounce.

Silver futures for May are down $0.055, or 0.37%, at $15.285 an ounce, while Copper futures for May are gaining $0.0030, or 0.1%, at $2.8965 per pound.

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