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Canadian Shares See Wild Swings

After opening on a positive note, the Canadian stock market slipped into negative territory in late morning trades Wednesday, with investors turning cautious and refraining from building up positions.

However, with a few key stocks in healthcare and banking sections finding support at lower levels, the market has moved above the unchanged line again.

As the market will remain closed on Friday and Monday for Christmas holidays, investors appear reluctant to make significant moves. Sluggish movements in the U.S. market too contribute to the somewhat wild swings.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which dropped to 16,495.67, after having advanced to 16,540.05 early on in the session, is currently up 23 points, or 0.14%, at 16,525.20.

Consumer staples, information technology and real estate stocks are among the notable losers. Consumer discretionary and energy stocks are edging higher, while financial, industrials and healthcare stocks are turning in a mixed performance.

In the healthcare space, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is rising 1.5%, Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) is soaring 8% and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) is gaining 2.8%.

Among materials shares, Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) and Goldcorp (G.TO) are down in negative territory, while First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) is rising nearly 1.5% and Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO) is gaining nearly 4%.

In the energy space, Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) are notably lower. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) is up 1.85%, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is rising 1.2% and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) is up 1.4%, while MEG Energy Corp. (MEG.TO) is climbing up 2.6%.

Among bank stocks, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) is gaining 1%, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) is rising 0.6%, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is up 0.4% and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) is advancing 0.5%.

Chorus Aviation Inc. (CHR.TO) announced today that Chorus Aviation Capital has entered into agreements to deliver five new Bombardier Q400 aircraft to SpiceJet of India under a sale and leaseback transaction. The stock is gaining about 0.6%.

Cineplex Inc. (CGX.TO) has announced cash dividend of $0.145 per share for the month of April 2019 payable on May 31, 2019 to shareholders of record on April 30, 2019. The stock is declining by about 0.7%.

Metro Inc. (MRU.TO) reported adjusted net earnings of $155.1 million for the second quarter of 2019, compared with $108.1 million for the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2018. Metro Inc. shares are lower by more than 1%.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada showed that the nation's trade deficit narrowed more than expectations in February, while core inflation improved in March from last month.

Canada's trade deficit narrowed to C$2.9 billion from a revised C$3.1 billion in January. Economists were looking for a shortfall of C$3.38 billion.

Exports fell 1.3%, while imports were down by 1.6%.

Data from Statistics Canada showed that Canada's consumer price inflation remained steady in March.

The consumer price index grew 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, same as in February. Economists had forecast a 0.7% rise.

Core inflation, excluding food and energy, accelerated to 0.4% from 0.2% in the previous month.

Year-on-year, the consumer price index rose 1.9% on an unadjusted basis in March, up from a 1.5% increase in February.

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