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Canadian Shares Holding Gains After Positive Start

The Canadian stock market opened on an upbeat note on Thursday, riding on the Federal Reserve's dovish policy stance and on higher crude oil and gold prices.

Markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended on a firm note on Thursday and European stocks were surging higher as well after the Federal Reserve cited uncertainties and muted inflation pressures and said that it will "act appropriate" to sustain expansion.

Crude oil prices soared due to an escalation in geopolitical tensions after Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard force said it had shot down an "intruding American spy drone". U.S. officials said the drone was in international territory at the time.

A larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. inventories in the week ended May 14 also contributed to crude oil's steep climb.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 60.52 points, or 0.37%, at 16,572.31, after posting a high of 16,603.94. The index had hit a record high of 16,672.71 on April 23, 2019.

Energy, mining, healthcare and information technology stocks were among the major gainers in the Canadian market. Bank stocks were mostly flat.

In the energy space, Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO) rose nearly 8%. Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and MEG Energy (MEG.TO) gained 3 to 4%.

Encana Corp. (ECA.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO), Enerflex (EFX.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO) and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) were also up sharply.

Among the stocks in the materials space, Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) and Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (FVI.TO) rose 6 to 9%.

Ero Corpper (ERO.TO), Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO), Detour Gold Corp (DGC.TO), Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Pan American Silver (PAAS.TO), First Majestic Silver Corp (FR.TO), Endeavour Mining Corp. (EDV.TO) and Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO) moved up by 3 to 5%. Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV.TO), Semafo (SMF.TO), Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO) and Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) also rose sharply.

In the healthcare space, Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) surged up 5.1%. Cronos Group (CRON.TO) gained 4.5% and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) gained 1.7%.

Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) moved up by about 0.6%. The company said that its shareholders have approved its proposed $3.4 billion acquisition of U.S. cannabis chain Acreage Holdings Inc. (ACRGF). It also noted that 99.05% of its shareholders who voted at a special meeting of shareholders held on Wednesday have approved the transaction.

Among information technology stocks, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Photon Control (PHO.TO) and Exfo Inc. (EXF.TO) gained 1.5 to 2%. Constellation Software (CSU.TO), Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO), Celestica Inc (CLS.TO), Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) were up 0.7 to 1.2%.

In commodities, crude oil futures for July were gaining $2.61, or 4.85%, at $56.37 a barrel.

Gold futures for August were up $37.50, or 2.78%, at $1,386.30 an ounce.

Silver futures for July were gaining $0.382, or 2.5%, at $15.340 an ounce, while Copper futures for July were up $0.0370, or about 1.4%, at $2.7175 per pound.

In the U.S. market, stocks moved higher as investors continued to react positively to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. The Fed, which left interest rates unchanged as widely expected, signaled that the next change in interest rates is likely to be a rate cut.

In U.S. economic news, first-time jobless claims dipped to 216,000 in the week ended June 15th, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 222,000. Jobless claims were expected to drop to 220,000.

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