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Canadian Market Modestly Higher As Energy Shares Shine

After a positive start Canadian shares were turning in a mixed performance Thursday morning amid cautious moves by investors.

A rebound in crude oil prices and optimism about an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve set up a firm start for the market.

Energy and consumer discretionary shares were up with notable gains. Select shares from mining and financial sections were also gaining ground in positive territory, while healthcare, consumer staples and information technology stocks exhibited weakness.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 26.22 points, or 0.16%, at 16,253.46. Earlier, after rising to 16,267.06, the index dropped to a low of 16,219.90, briefly slipping into the negative territory.

Among energy stocks, MEG Energy (MEG.TO) was up nearly 6%. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO) and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) gained 2 to 4%.

Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) and Parex Resources (PXT.TO) also posted strong gains.

Consumer discretionary stock Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO) climbed up nearly 8% on strong results. The company reported net earnings of $103.5 million, or $0.33 per diluted common share, in the first quarter of Fiscal 2020, compared to $101.5 million, or $0.31 per diluted common share, in the first quarter of Fiscal 2019.

Canada Goose Holdings Inc. (GOOS.TO) jumped 4.5%. Aritzia Inc. (ATZ.TO), Martinrea International (MRE.TO) and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GC.TO) were up 1.4 to 3%.

In the materials space, Alacer Gold Corp. (ASR.TO) soared more than 12%. SSR Mining (SSRM.TO) gained 4.3%. Oceanagold Corp. (OGC.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO), Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO), Eneavour Mining Corp. (EDV.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO), Detour Gold Corp. (DGC.TO), Labrador Iron Ore Royalty (LIF.TO), Osiko Gold Royalties (OR.TO), Alamos Gold (AGI.TO) and Canfor Corp. (CFP.TO) moved up 2 to 4%.

Among the key stocks in the financial index, Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) were up 0.3 to 1%.

Among those in the healthcare index, Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) declined more than 7%. Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) was down 3.4%, CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) shed 2.8% and Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.TO) eased 2.5%, while Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) were down 1.5% and 0.8%, respectively.

Consumer staples stocks North West Company (NWC.TO), Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B.TO) and Loblaw (L.TO) declined sharply. Cott Corp. (BCB.TO) moved up 1.4%.

Telecom shares BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) and Shaw Communications (SJR.B.TO) were both down by about 1.8%.

In the information technology space, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) and BlackBerry (BB.TO) were lower by 1 to 1.2%.

In economic news, Canada new home prices were unchanged in April of 2019 for a third consecutive month, and in line with market expectations.

Year-on-year, new home prices went up 0.1%, the same pace as in the prior month.

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