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TSX Fails To Hold Early Gains, Settle Marginally Down

After opening on a positive note, the Canadian stock market faltered and slipped into the red by mid morning and despite a mild recovery around noon, ended the session weak on Wednesday.

Worries about growth amid the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, and a sharp decline in crude oil prices after data showed a jump in U.S. gasoline inventories rendered the market weak.

Mining stocks surged higher after gold prices rose to more than six-year high. Healthcare shares were the other major gainers in the session. Information technology stocks found some support.

Energy stocks were weak, tracking lower crude oil prices. Industrials shares too drifted lower.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 18.21 points, or 0.11%, at 16,484.21, after scaling a low of 16,469.02 and a high of 16,534.92.

The Capped Materials Index surged up 2.21%. Fortuna Silver Mines (FVI.TO) soared 13.4%, New Gold Inc. (NGD.TO) spurted 11.4% and Oceanagold Corp. (OGC.TO) gained 10.4%.

First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR.TO), Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), MAG Silver Corp. (MAG.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Semafo (SMF.TO), Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) and Canterra Gold Inc. (CG.TO) gained 4 to 9%.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO), B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO), Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Novagold (NG.TO) also rose sharply.

The Capped Healthcare Index ended 1.31% up. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO), CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) gained 3.3 to 4%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) ended higher by 2.4% and 1.2%, respectively.

The Capped Energy Index shed 1.3%. Precision Drilling Corp. (PD.TO), Encana Corp. (ECA.TO), Nuvista Energy (NVA.TO), Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO), Ensign Energy Services (ESI.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO) and Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) lost 2 to 5%.

PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) also ended notably lower.

From the industrials section, Tfi International (TFII.TO) declined more than 4%, Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) eased by about 3% and Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) ended 1.75% down.

Shares of Lightspeed POS Inc. (LSPD.TO) ended 1.3% up after the company announced that it has completed the acquisition of Switzerland-based iKentoo, a POS solutions provider to small and medium-sized businesses operating within the hospitality industry.

Shares of The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (FIRE.TO) soared 11% after the company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of privately-held Truverra Inc. The Transaction is valued at 14.7 million common shares of Supreme Cannabis, giving the Transaction an approximate dollar value of $20,000,000 as of the Company's closing price on July 16, 2019.

In economic news, Statistics Canada's report said inflation slowed in June with consumer product index rising 2% in the month, after a 2.4% increase in May. The CPI was down 0.1% in June on a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis.

According to another report, manufacturing sales increased by 1.6% to $58.9 billion in May, after falling 0.4% a month earlier.

U.S. stocks ended lower and the major averages pulled back further off Monday's record closing highs. The weakness was due to a bigger than expected drop in housing starts as well as a nosedive in building permits.

The Dow ended down 0.4%, the Nasdaq declined by 0.5% and the S&P 500 settled lower by 0.7%.

European and Asian markets ended mostly lower on trade worries.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended down $0.84, or about 1.5%, at $56.78 a barrel.

Gold futures for August ended up $12.10, or about 0.9%, at $1,423.30 an ounce, the highest settlement since mid-May 2013.

Silver futures for September ended up $0.293, at $15.971 an ounce, while Copper futures for September settled higher by $0.0160, at $2.7160 per pound.

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