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TSX Ends Slightly Up As Miners Rally

The Canadian stock market ended slightly higher on Thursday, as strong gains in the materials and technology sections helped offset losses in healthcare and energy sections.

The mood in the market was mostly cautious due to concerns about global economic slowdown and uncertainty about the U.S. and China agreeing on any trade deal in the foreseeable future.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended at 16,494.23, gaining 10.02 points, or 0.06%. During the session, the index touched a low of 16,445.13 and a high of 16,514.50.

In the mining space, Sandstorm Gold (SSL.TO) climbed up 8.5%. First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR.TO), Alacer Gold Corp. (ASR.TO), Detour Gold Corp. (DGC.TO), SSR Mining (SSRM.TO), Oceanagold Corp (OGC.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) gained 5 to 6.25%.

Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO), Canfor Corp. (CFP.TO), MAG Silver Corp. (MAG.TO), B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO), Endeavour Mining Corp. (EDI.TO), Pan American Silver Corp (PAAS.TO), Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) gained 2.8% - 4%.

Technology stocks Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO), Exfo Inc. (EXF.TO) and Constellation Software (CSU.TO) posted solid gains.

In the energy section, Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) shed 4.75%. Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) and Ensign Energy Services (ESI.TO) lost 2 to 4%. Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) also declined sharply.

In the healthcare section, Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) declined by about 6.5%, while Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO), Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) lost 2 to 2.6%. CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) ended stronger by 2.7% on bargain hunting.

Among the stocks in the financial space, Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) and Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO) settled lower by about 0.5%.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) edged up marginally, while CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) ended flat.

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.

U.S. stocks saw wild swings over the course of the trading session on Thursday, with the major averages moving back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending the day in positive territory.

The Dow inched up less than a tenth of a percent, the Nasdaq gained 0.3% and the S&P 500 climbed 0.4%.

The higher close on Wall Street came as comments from New York Federal Reserve President John Williams seemed to endorse a near-term interest rate cut by the Fed. Traders were also digesting news that the U.S. Navy has shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

Markets across Asia and Europe ended weak on trade worries and earnings concerns.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended down $1.48, or about 2.6%, at $55.30 a barrel.

Gold futures for August ended up $4.80, or 0.3%, at $1,428.10 an ounce, a fresh high since mid May 2013.

Silver futures for September ended up $0.227, at $16.198 an ounce, while Copper futures for September settled at $2.7100 per pound, down $0.0060 from previous close.

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