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TSX Rises On Trade Talks Hopes, Ends At 6-week High

The Canadian stock market ended on a buoyant note on Thursday, as stocks from across various sectors moved higher amid renewed optimism about trade talks and upbeat U.S. economic data.

U.S. and China are reportedly planning to hold high level trade talks in early October.

A statement from China's Commerce Ministry said both sides agreed to the new round of talks during a phone call between Chinese Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative's office confirmed the phone call and said the U.S. and China agreed to hold meetings "in the coming weeks."

Energy stocks rose sharply even as crude oil prices failed to hold early gains and settled flat. Gold's sharp plunge weighed on materials shares.

Shares from healthcare, information technology, industrials, financial and consumer discretionary sections were in demand.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 125.97 points, or 0.77%, at 16,574.81, after scaling a high of 16,604.40 intraday.

The Capped Energy Index ended stronger by 2.65%. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Precision Drilling (PD.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Encana Corp (ECA.TO), Shawcor (SCL.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) gained 3 to 5%.

Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Enerflex (EFX.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Enerplus (ERF.TO) and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) also rose sharply.

The Capped Healthcare Index rose 3.73%. CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) both ended stronger by nearly 7.5%.

Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) gained 6%, while Cronos Group (CRON.TO) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) advanced by about 4.8%. Knight Therapeutics (GUD.TO), Baush Health Companies (BHC.TO), Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) and Extendicare (EXE.TO) also closed with strong gains.

Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), up 3.33%, was the top gainer in the Financial Index. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), CDN Western Bank (CWB.TO), Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Laurentian Bank (LB.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 1 to 2%.

In the information technology space, Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) soared 10%. BlackBerry (BB.TO), Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) and Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) gained 5 to 5.6%. Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO), Kinaxis Inc (KXS.TO) and Photon Control (PHO.TO) also rose sharply.

Mullen Group (MTL.TO), Transcontinental Inc. (TCL.A.TO), Ats Automation (ATA.TO), Finning International (FTT.TO), SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC.TO), Russel Metals (RUS.TO), WSP Global (WSP.TO) and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) were among the top gainers in the industrial space.

Consumer discretionary shares Martinrea International (MRE.TO), Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO), Linamar Corp (LNR.TO), Brp Inc. (DOO.TO) and Magna International (MG.TO) gained 3 to 4.5%. The Stars Group (TSGI.TO), Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.A.TO), Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO), Aritzia Inc. (ATZ.TO) and Dollarama (DOL.TO) also ended with strong gains.

Centerra Gold (CG.TO), Detour Gold Corp (DGC.TO), Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) and B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) lost 5 to 9.5%. Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Oceanagold Corp (OGC.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO), Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) also declined sharply.

U.S. stocks ended on an upbeat note thanks to positive reaction to trade news and upbeat private sector employment, service sector activity and factory orders data.

The Dow ended up 1.4%, the Nasdaq spiked 1.8% and the S&P 500 gained 1.3%.

Most of the markets across Europe closed higher on optimism about U.S.-China trade talks and easing political tensions in the U.K., Hong Kong and Italy.

Asian stocks too ended broadly higher on Thursday.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended up $0.04 or about 0.07%, at $56.30 a barrel.

Gold futures for December ended down $34.90, or 2.2%, at $1,525.50 an ounce, the biggest single-session loss in terms of dollars, since November 11, 2016.

Silver futures for December ended down $0.740, or 3.8%, at $18.807 an ounce, a day after closing at a three-year high, while Copper futures for December settled at $2.6420 per pound, gaining $0.0470 for the session.

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