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TSX Ends Marginally Up After Choppy Ride

After a solid start and a subsequent fall from higher levels, the Canadian stock market managed to end in positive territory on Wednesday, led by gains in energy and healthcare sections.

However, gains were just modest as buying interest at several counters was somewhat subdued.

Energy stocks moved higher as crude oil prices surged. Consumer discretionary stocks traded weak, while financial, information technology, materials and industrials shares ended mixed.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 13.31 points, or 0.08%, at 16,149.97, after rising to 16,212.56 in early trades.

The Capped Energy Index gained 1.41%. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) gained 1 to 2%.

Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU.TO) gained more than 2.5%, ARC Resources (ARX.TO) climbed 2.4%, PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) jumped 3.3% and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) gained 4.7%

In the materials space, Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) declined 1.4%, Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) shed about 1% and CCL Industries (CCL.B.TO) ended lower by 1.2%.

The Capped Healthcare Index climbed nearly 2.5%. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) soared 13% reacting positively to the announcement from the company that it has appointed Nelson Peltz as a Strategic Advisor. Mr. Peltz and Aurora will work collaboratively and strategically to explore potential partnerships that would be the optimal strategic fit for successful entry into each of Aurora's contemplated market segments, the company said. Peltz will also advise on the Company's global expansion strategy.

Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) gained 5.8%. HEXO Corp and Newstrike Brands Ltd. announced that they have entered into a definitive arrangement agreement under which Hexo will acquire all of Newstrike's issued and outstanding common shares in an all-share transaction valued at approximately $263 million.

Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) advanced 1.2%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) and Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) ended sharply lower.

Bank stocks ended mostly around their previous closing levels. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) declined by about 0.3%.

The U.S. market ended on a positive note despite fluctuating in the final hour. A positive reaction to Commerce Department's data that showed an unexpected increase in durable goods orders in the month of January drove the market higher.

The Dow gained 0.6%, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 both moved up 0.7%.

European markets ended higher with investors reacting to earnings and economic data from the zone and picking up stocks ahead of a no-deal Brexit vote.

Asian markets ended mostly lower on Brexit uncertainty.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $1.39, or 2.4%, at $58.26 a barrel, the highest settlement in four months.

Gold futures for April ended up $11.20, or 0.9%, at $1,309.30 an ounce, the contract's first close about the $1,300 mark in about two weeks.

Silver futures for May settled at $15.456 an ounce, up $0.043 from previous close.

Copper futures for May ended up $0.0070, at $2.9355 per pound.

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