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Canadian Shares Exhibiting Weakness In Cautious Trade

Canadian stocks were swinging between gains and losses Thursday morning amid lingering worries about global economic slowdown and uncertainty about the progress the U.S. and China are making with regard to trade negotiations.

Falling crude oil prices and some disappointing news from U.S., including lower revenues reported by IBM and the significant drop in Netflix's subscriber numbers too weighed on the market.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was down 28.40 points, or 0.17%, at 16,455.81 after edging up slightly to 16,490.30 in early trades.

In economic news, ADP reported that private businesses in Canada hired 30.40 thousand workers in the month of June compared to a reduction of 16 thousand in May of 2019.

Healthcare and energy stocks were the most prominent losers. A few stocks from mining, financial and information technology sections edged higher.

The Capped Healthcare Index declined more than 2%. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) was down nearly 6%, CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) shed 3.75%, Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) declined 3.4%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) eased by about 2.8%, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) shed 1.9% and Cronos Group Inc. (CRON.TO) was lower by 1.8%.

The Capped Energy Index was down by about 1.4%. Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Encana Corp. (ECA.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) lost 2 to 4%.

Among the stocks in the Materials Index, First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR.TO), Osisko Gold Royalties (OR.TO) and Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO) were up 3 to 4%.

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Detour Gold Corp. (DGC.TO), Iamgold (IMG.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Franco-Nevada Corp. (FNV.TO), B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO) and Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) moved up 1 to 2%.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) gained 1.3%. The company reported preliminary second-quarter sales of 1.37 million ounces of gold and 96 million pounds of copper, and preliminary second quarter production of 1.35 million ounces of gold and 97 million pounds of copper.

The company said its preliminary second quarter gold sales and production support annual production at the upper end of the 2019 group guidance range.

Among the stocks in the financial space, Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO) and Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO) posted modest gains, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) were moving around their previous closing levels.

On Wall Street, stocks regained some ground after an initial move to the downside. The initial weakness was partly due to a negative reaction to the latest earnings news, with shares of Netflix showing a particularly steep drop.

Stock markets across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region ended mostly lower on Thursday with investors staying wary of picking up shares amid worries about global growth and trade tensions.

Crude oil futures were declining $1.90, or 3.34%, at $54.90 a barrel.

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