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TSX Fails To Retain Gains, Ends Flat

The Canadian stock market retreated and settled flat on Thursday after posting a fresh high for the current year, as investors turned cautious, looking ahead to the earnings season.

Optimism about U.S.-China trade deal and encouraging data on U.S. jobless claims pushed stock prices up early on in the session, but worries about global growth and caution ahead of results dragged the market down from higher levels.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 3.18 points, or 0.02%, at the day's low of 16,399.47, after having scaled a high of 16,471.83 early on in the session.

Information technology shares were in demand. Cannabis stocks ended sharply lower. Materials tumbled as well, while energy, financial, industrial and consumer segments shares turned in a mixed performance.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) declined 2.4%, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) tumbled 4.8%, Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) plunged 6.6%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) eased 2.3%, Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) ended 3.5% down and CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) dropped 5.2% and Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) closed lower by 5%.

Among information technology shares Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained more than 2.5%. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) advanced 1.2%. Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO) and BlackBerry (BB.TO) also ended on a firm note.

Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) and MEG Energy (MEG.TO) declined on huge volumes. Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) moved up 1.1% and Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) gained 1.3%.

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

In the banking space, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) gained about 0.5%, while rest of the stocks settled around their previous closing levels.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) gained 1.3% and Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) ended nearly 1% up.

MTY Food Group Inc. (MTY.TO) announced that its net income for the first quarter of 2019 decreased to $14.7 million, or $0.59 per share, when compared to $44.3 million, or $2.07 per share, for the same period last year. MTY shares plunged more than 8%.

TELUS Corporation (T.TO) announced on Wednesday that it has acquired new 600 MHz spectrum licences in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec at a cost of $931 million. The stock edged up marginally.

U.S. stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday before eventually ending the day little changed. The major averages kept bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves amid uncertainty about the upcoming earnings season, as some analysts expect the results to be disappointing.

European markets ended mostly higher, after the European Union extended the deadline for Brexit. However, gains were just modest in many of the markets in the region as worries about global economic slowdown continued to weigh on stocks.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Thursday.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $1.03, or 1.6%, at $63.58 a barrel.

Gold futures for June ended down $20.60, or 1.6%, at $1,293.30 an ounce, the lowest settlement so far this month.

Silver futures for May ended down $0.377, at $14.867 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.8870 per pound, down $0.0385 from previous close.

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