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Canadian Market Up Slightly In Cautious Trade

The Canadian stock market is up in positive territory Tuesday morning, riding on solid gains in healthcare, financial and information technology sections.

The mood is cautious, albeit with a positive bias, thanks to rising optimism about U.S.-China trade negotiations and on fairly good results from some top U.S. companies, including Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth.

A sell-off in energy and materials sections due to weak commodity prices is limiting the market's upside.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 15.87 points, or 0.1%, at 16,531.33, after rising to a high of 16,553.39

In the banking space, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) are up 0.4 to 0.6%, while National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is flat.

In the healthcare space, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is gaining 4%. Aurora is planning to acquire the remaining 48% of Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. that it does not already own through an exchange of shares.

Under a friendly agreement between the companies, Aurora will pay the equivalent of $1.04 per Hempco share, payable in Aurora shares. The Hempco acquisition will provide Aurora with a low-cost, high-volume source of hemp for the extraction of CBD, a substance with therapeutic properties that's also found in cannabis.

Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) is rising 4.3%. Canopy announced it has completed an all-cash acquisition of Spain-based licensed cannabis producer Cáñamo y Fibras Naturales, S.L. The acquisition will help Canopy Growth to expand its European production footprint into one of the most ideal growing regions in the world.

Cronos Group (CRON.TO), Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO), Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) and Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) are up 1.8 to 2.5%, while CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) is advancing 1.4%.

Information technology stocks Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Constellation Software (CSU.TO), Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO) and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) are gaining 1 to 2%, while Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) is rising nearly 3%.

In the energy space, Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) are down 1.5 to 4.5%. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is up by about 1%.

Among the stocks in the materials space, Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO) is up 2%. Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO) is down 1%, Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) is down 5.2% and Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) is declining 2.8%.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada showed manufacturing sales fell 0.2% in February to $56.6 billion, due to a retreat in the motor vehicle assembly and wood products industries. In January, sales were up 0.8%.

The report said sales were down in 15 of 21 industries, representing 65.9% of the Canadian manufacturing sector in February.

The motor vehicle assembly industry fell 4.4% in February, as vehicles sales declined. Excluding motor vehicle sales, manufacturing sales were up 0.2% in March.

U.S. stocks have pared gains after a notable upmove in early trading. While strong results from Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth buoyd up prices early on, data from the Federal Reserve that showed an unexpected drop in industrial production in the month of March dragged the market down from higher levels.

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