Canadian Stocks Edging Higher After Cautious Start

After opening on a mixed note amid cautious moves, the Canadian market moved higher Monday morning, led by gains in healthcare and information technology sections.

Worries about global growth after data out of China showed the world's second largest economy grew at the slowest pace in about 27 years in the second quarter weighed on sentiment. Investors were also looking ahead to earnings reports from top U.S. and Canadian companies for further direction.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which edged down to 16,486.19 in early trades, advanced to 16,524.51 in late morning trades, gaining 36.39 points, or 0.23%.

Cannabis shares took a severe beating in recent sessions after CannTrust was in trouble due to alleged selling of cannabis products made in unlicensed facilities and the subsequent decision of the company to put on hold sale and shipment of all cannabis products after inspections revealed the existence of several illegal grow rooms at an Ontario facility.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (TRST.TO) rose more than 11% Monday morning, bouncing back strongly from recent losses.

Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.TO) and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) both gained about 4.5%. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained nearly 4% and Cronos Group (CRON.TO) advanced 3.75%. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) strengthened by nearly 1%.

Information technology stocks Exfo Inc. (EXF.TO) and Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained 2.6% and 2.35%, respectively. Absolute Software Corp. (ABT.TO) moved up 2%, while Constellation Software (CSU.TO) and Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) gained 1.5% and 1.35%, respectively.

Kelt Exploration (KEL>TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TOU.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO), Enerflex (EFX.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) and MEG Energy (MEG.TO) gained 1 to 3.5%.

In the materials space, New Gold (NGD.TO) gained more than 5%. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Cascades (CAS.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Ero Copper Corp. (ERO.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) and West Fraser Timber (WFT.TO) moved up 2 to 3%.

Among bank stocks, National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) posted modest gains, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) were down marginally.

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