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Canadian Market Modestly Higher

After a flat start, the Canadian stock market moved higher Thursday morning, riding on gains in information technology and financial sections.

A few stocks from consumer staples and telecommunications sectors moved up as well. Energy and materials shares are turning in a mixed performance, while healthcare shares traded weak.

Optimism about earnings and U.S.-China trade negotiations support the market, while weak commodity prices and concerns about global economic slowdown weigh on sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 43 points, or 0.26%, at 16,239.29 a little past noon, after having advanced to a high of 16,471.83 earlier.

Rohyal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) are gaining 0.35 to 0.7%, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is up marginally.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) is rising 1.3% and Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) is gaining 1.6%, while Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO) is down marginally.

Among information technology shares, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) is gaining 2%, Constellation Software (CSU.TO) is up 1.4%, CGI Inc. (GIB.A.TO) is advancing 1%, BlackBerry (BB.TO) is up 1.3% and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) is up 1.2%.

Energy stocks Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) and Surge Energy (SGY.TO) are down 1 to 2%. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is declining by about 0.75%.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) are up with modest gains, while Enbridge (ENB.TO) is gaining 1.3%. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is flat.

In the materials space, Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) are notably lower.

Cannabis shares are down after recent strong gains. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is down 2.3%, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) is declining 3.7%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) is plunging 4%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) is down 2%, Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) is lower by 1.6%, CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) is declining 4.3% and Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) is down 4.2%.

In the consumer staples space, Metro Inc. (MRU.TO) is gaining 1.1%, Cott Corporation (BCB.TO) is up 1.35% and North West Company Inc. (NWC.TO) is advancing 1%.

U.S. stocks are mostly sluggish amid lackluster moves as investors stay reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the global economic outlook and caution ahead of results.

In commodities, crude oil futures for May are down $1.05, or 1.63%, at $63.56 a barrel.

Gold futures for June are down $16.10, or 1.23%, at $1,297.80 an ounce.

Silver futures for May are down $0.274 or 1.8%, at $14.970 an ounce, while Copper futures for May are down $0.029, or 0.99%, at $2.8965 per pound.

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