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TSX Ends On Upbeat Note; IT, Energy Stocks Rally

It was a bright session out in positive territory for the Canadian stock market on Thursday as investors kept picking up shares from across several sectors after data showed an unexpected annual growth in Chinese exports.

According to the report released by the Customs Office, Chinese exports were up 3.3% in July, compared to the same month a year ago. Economists had forecast a 2% decrease.

The rally in global markets and a sharp rebound in crude oil prices further boosted sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 139.31 points, or 0.86%, at 16,404.53, after scaling a low of 16,292.63 and a high of 16,420.71 in the session.

Information technology and energy stocks rallied sharply. Shares from materials, consumer staples and industrial sections too posted strong gains. There were notable gains for some financial and healthcare stocks as well.

In the information technology space, Quarterhill Inc. (QTRH.TO) gained nearly 7%. Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) advanced 4.3% and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) gained 4.1%. Blackberry (BB.TO), Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) and Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) ended higher by 2.5 to 2.9%.

Sierra Wireless (SW.TO), Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO), Constellation Software (CSU.TO) and Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO) gained 1 to 1.6%.

In the energy section, Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) spurted nearly 7%. Enerplus Corp. (ERF.TO) gained 3.6%, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO) and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) advanced by 2 to 2.6%.

ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Precision Drilling Corporation (PD.TO) and Husky Energy (HSE.TO) also closed with strong gains.

Among materials shares, Lundin Mining (LUN.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Norbord Inc. (OSB.TO), Interfor Corp. (IFP.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Centerra Gold Inc. (CG.TO), Methanex (MX.TO) and MAG Silver Corp (MAG.TO) gained 2 to 6%.

Industrials shares Finning International (FTT.TO), Westshore Terminals Investment Corp. (WTE.TO), Snc-Lavalin (SNC.TO), Air Canada (AC.TO), Chorus Aviation (CHR.TO) and WSP Global Inc. (WSP.TO) moved up 2 to 5%.

Among the stocks in the financial space, Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) gained about 1.85%. The company reported net income of $1.47 billion for the second quarter thanks to growth in new business in Asia.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAM-A.TO) shares advanced 1.2%. The company reported a net income of $399 million or $0.36 per share for the second quarter, down from $680 million or $0.62 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO), Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Laurentian Bank (LB.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) gained 0.5 to 1.3%.

U.S. stocks ended on a firm note as investors reacted positively to Chinese exports data and on data showing a drop in U.S. initial jobless claims.

The Dow closed higher by 1.4%, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 moved up 2.2% and 1.9%, respectively.

Markets across Europe and Asia-Pacific region ended mostly higher.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for September ended up $1.45, or 2.84%, at 52.54 a barrel.

Gold futures for December ended down $10.10, or about 0.7%, at $1,509.50 an ounce.

Silver futures for September ended down $0.260, at $16.936 an ounce, while Copper futures for September settled at $2.6075 per pound, gaining $0.0365.

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