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TSX Fails To Hold Early Gains, Settles Flat

After opening on a firm note Friday morning thanks to data showing Canadian jobless rate at a record low and on hopes of a rate cut in the U.S., the Canadian stock market lost its way around late morning and ended flat after a choppy ride.

Higher crude oil prices triggered some buying in the energy space, but most of the early movers failed to hold their gains. Information technology stocks had a good outing. Healthcare shares also found support.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 3.16 points, or 0.02%, at 16,230.96. The index, which rose to 16,277.36 early on in the session, dropped to a low of 16,220.65 around late afternoon.

Materials and telecommunications shares traded weak, while consumer discretionary, financial and industrials shares turned in a mixed performance.

Information technology stock Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) gained 2.75% on strong quarterly results. Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained 2.1%, Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) gained 1.85%, Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) moved up 1.6% and Constellation Software (CSU.TO) ended 1.35% up.

Among the stocks in the Healthcare Index, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) jumped more than 4.5%. Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) and Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.TO) moved up 1.7% and 1.55%, respectively.

In the energy space, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) gained nearly 4%. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) and Canadian Natural Gas (CNQ.TO) gained 1 to 1.7%.

On the other hand, Encana Corp (ECA.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO) and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) ended with sharp to moderate losses.

In the materials space, Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), Detour Gold Corp. (DGC.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV.TO) declined sharply, while Semafo (SMF.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Interfor Corp. (IFP.TO), Canfor Corp. (CFP.TO) and Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO) posted strong gains.

Among bank stocks, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) gained more than 0.5%. CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) close modestly lower.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada said Canada added 27,700 jobs in May 2019, beating estimates for an addition of 8,000 jobs. However, the addition in May was much below the 106,500 jobs created in the previous month.

Meanwhile, unemployment rate in Canada fell to 5.4% in May, from 5.7% a month earlier. Market expected unemployment to come in at 5.7%. The latest unemployment percentage is the lowest since 1976.

U.S. stocks ended on a firm note amid hopes the disappointing U.S. jobs data could spur the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates in the near future.

The market was also supported by U.S. President Donald Trump's comments that there is a "good chance" the U.S. and Mexico will reach an agreement to avert his threatened 5% tariff on all Mexican imports.

The Dow jumped 1%, the Nasdaq gained 1.7% and the S&P 500 gained 1.1%.

Markets across Europe and Asia-Pacific region also closed higher.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for July ended up $1.40, or 2.7%, at $53.99 a barrel, amid signs OPEC members and allies will extend output cuts beyond June.

Gold futures for August ended up $3.40, or about 0.3%, at $1,246.10 an ounce, after advancing to a high of $1,352.70 at one stage. Futures dropped to a low of $1,334.30 in early trades.

Silver futures for July ended up $0.126, at $15.301 an ounce, while Copper futures for July settled at $2.6275 per pound, down $0.0230 from previous close.

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