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TSX Ends On Firm Note

The Canadian stock market shrugged off a weak start, and led by gains in financial and materials shares, moved up to record a fresh closing high for the year on Monday.

The mood remained somewhat cautious ahead of a slew of crucial earnings reports from either side of the border.

Earnings reports from the U.S. were a mixed bag today. Goldman Sachs reported better than expected first quarter earnings but revenues fell short of expectations. Citigroup reported better then expected first quarter earnings.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 34.93 points, or 0.21%, at 16,515.46, after advancing to a high of 16,532.67.

In the banking space, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) ended modestly higher.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) moved up 0.5%, Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) gained about 0.35% and Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO) ended 1.1% up.

In the materials space, Nutrien (NTR.TO), Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), CCL Industries (CCL.B.TO) and Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO) gained 1 to 2.5%.

Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) jumped about 8% after the company agreed to acquire 100% ownership stake in Mineração Maracá Indústria e Comércio S/A, which owns the Chapada copper-gold mine located in Brazil from Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) for cash consideration of $800 million, subject to customary adjustments. Yamana Gold shares declined by about 3.5%.

Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO), Osisko Gold Royalties (OR.TO), Endeavour Mining (EDV.TO) and Nutrien (NTR.TO) gained 2 to 4%.

In the energy section, Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) and MEG Energy (MEG.TO) ended notably lower.

Cannabis stocks tumbled after Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) reported net loss for the quarter ended February 2019.

Aphria Inc. shares plunged more than 14% after reporting net loss of $108.2 million or $0.43 per share for the quarter ended February 28, 2019, compared to net income of $12.9 million or $0.08 per share for the same period last year. Excluding non-cash impairment charges, adjusted net loss was $50.2 million, or $0.20 per share in the third quarter.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO), Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO), Cronos Group (CRON.TO), Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO), CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) and Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) lost 3 to 6%.

Information technology stock Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) advanced 1.8%. Maxar Technologies (MAXR.TO) gained 2.7%.

On the economic front, a report from the Canadian Real Estate Association said home sales via Canadian MLS Systems edged up 0.9% in March following a sharp drop in February. The activity in March was near some of the lowest levels recorded in the last six years.

The Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey point to a moderation from previous high levels of domestic and foreign demand for firms in most regions. The survey said investment and employment intentions remain positive.

The summary said key headwinds are a more uncertain outlook, notably in the energy sector and some housing-related areas, as well as global trade tensions.

On U.S.-China trade front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday that a U.S.-China trade agreement would go "way beyond" previous efforts to open China's markets to U.S. companies.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Mnuchin said that he believed Washington and Beijing are getting close to the final round of concluding issues.

On Wall Street, stocks ended slightly lower after seeing weakness throughout much of the trading session.

The modest weakness in the market partly reflected a negative reaction to earnings news from Goldman Sachs.

European markets ended mostly higher on trade talks optimism. Markets across Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended down $0.49, or 0.8%, at $63.40 a barrel.

Gold futures for June ended down $3.90, or 0.3%, at $1,291.30 an ounce.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.012, at $14.975 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.9350 per pound, down $0.0110 from previous close.

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