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TSX Settles At Record High

The Canadian stock market traded firm right through the session on Thursday and its benchmark index marched on to an all-time high towards the closing minutes of the session, riding on gains in consumer discretionary, healthcare and information technology sections.

Shares from financial and industrial sections too fared reasonably well, while energy and materials stocks ended mixed.

Data showing a jump in Canadian retail sales in the month of February, and data showing a surge in U.S. retail sales and lower jobless claims helped keep sentiment positive right through the session.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index rose to a record high of 16,615.08 and settled at 16,612.81, the best closing mark ever, with a gain of 68.57 points, or 0.41%. The index gained about 0.8% in the week.

Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) climbed up nearly 4.5% and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) ended 1.6% up.

In the materials space, Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO), Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) declined sharply.

Energy stocks Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) ended lower by about 1.75%.

In the financial space, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) posted modest gains.

Consumer discretionary stocks Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR.TO), Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO), Magna International (MG.TO), Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.A.TO), Stars Group (TSGI.TO), Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GC.TO) and Linamar Corporation (LNR.TO) are up 1 to 3.5%.

Data released by Statistics Canada showed retail sales rose 0.8% in February to $50.6 billion, marking the first increase since October.

According to Thomson Reuters Eikon, economists had forecast a 0.4% rise in retail sales in February.

Retail sales at general merchandise stores increased by 3.8%, while sales at new car dealers helped motor vehicle and parts dealers sales climb 1.4%.

Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers dropped by 1.6% in February, after rising in the previous two months.

On Wall Street, the major averages closed higher although stocks were seen struggling for direction.

The Nasdaq inched up be less than a tenth of a percent, the Dow climbed 0.4% and the S&P 500 ended up 0.2%.

European markets ended mostly higher despite weak eurozone economic data. Asian markets turned in a mixed performance.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.24, or about 0.4%, at $64.00 a barrel.

Gold futures for June ended down $0.80, or about 0.06%, at $1,276.00 an ounce, the lowest settlement since late December 2018.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.016, at $14.955 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $2.9200 per pound, down $0.0475 from previous close.

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