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Canadian Shares Extending Gains After Bright Start

Canadian stocks moved higher Thursday morning, with investors thronging several counters and making purchases, setting aside concerns over U.S.-China trade conflict, and instead reacting positively to upbeat Chinese exports data and a firmer Yuan.

A sharp rebound in crude oil prices contributed as well to market's rise. Apart from energy stocks, several top shares from information technology, consumer staples, industrials and financial sections posted strong gains.

Mining stocks were a bit mixed after recent sharp gains. Healthcare, consumer discretionary and telecommunications shares were also turning in a mixed performance.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 128.96 points, or 0.79%, at 16,394.18 a few minutes past noon.

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 115.73 points, or 0.72%, at 16,265.22.

Among energy stocks, Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) surged up nearly 5%. Baytex Energy Corp. (BTE.TO), Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO), MEG Energy Corp. (MEG.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained 1.5 to 3.2%.

In the information technology space, Quarterhill Inc. (QTRH.TO) moved up 3.75% and Shopify (SHOP.TO) gained 3.2%. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO), Constellation Software (CSU.TO), Celestica Inc (CLS.TO), BlackBerry (BB.TO), Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) were up 1 to 2%.

In the consumer staples section, Cott Corp. (BCB.TO) climbed up 8.2% after the company reported a 4% increase in gross profit $313 million for the second quarter.

Saputo Inc. (SAP.TO) gained nearly 3.5%. Empire Company (EMP.A.TO), Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B.TO), Weston George (WN.TO) and Loblaw (L.TO) gained 1 to 1.75%.

In the financial space, Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) gained about 2%. The company reported net income attributable to shareholders of $1.47 billion in the second quarter on a growth in new business in Asia. The insurer earned 73 cents per diluted share for the three months ended June 30, up about 20% from 61 cents per share a year earlier when it earned $1.27 billion.

CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), Fairfax Financial Holding (FFH.TO), Laurentian Bank (LB.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) were up 0.75 - 1.5%.

Canadian Tire Corp. Limited (CTC.A.TO) has agreed to buy Party City's Canadian business for $174.4 million. Party City is an expert in party supplies with 65 Canadian retail stores in seven provinces. The stock was down more than 5%.

Magna International Inc. (MG.TO) reported second-quarter net income of $452 million, down from $626 million last year. Earnings per share, at $1.42 was below an expected $1.54 per share and down from $1.77 in the comparable period. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.59, compared to $1.67 for the second quarter of 2018, the company said. The stock gained about 3.5%.

In economic news today, Canada's new home prices dropped 0.1% for the second consecutive month in June 2019. Markets had forecast prices to remain unchanged. Year-on-Year, prices were down 0.2% in June.

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