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Canadian Shares Exhibiting Weakness In Cautious Trade

After edging up a bit in early trades, the Canadian stock market retreated Monday morning, led by losses in materials and technology shares, and was still languishing in negative territory around noon.

However, the downside was capped thanks to gains posted by energy shares and expectations that global central banks would step up stimulus to support growth.

Energy stocks rallied on higher crude oil prices after Saudi Arabia said that it would continue to support output cuts by OPEC and other producers to prop up prices under new Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

The benchmark S&P/TSX was down 45.32 points, or 0.27%, 16,490.01, a few minutes past noon.

The Capped Energy Index gained about 2.5%. Nuvista Energy (NVA.TO) soared nearly 10%. Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Precision Drilling Corp (PD.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO) and Encana Corp (ECA.TO) moved up 5 to 11%.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Kelt Exploration (KEL.TO), Enerflex (EFX.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) were up 3 to 5%.

Among miners, Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) declined nearly 10%. Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Novagold Resources (NG.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Iamgold (IMG.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO), Detour Gold (DGC.TO), Yamaha Gold (YRI.TO), Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO) and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) lost 3 to 5%.

Information technology stocks Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) and BlackBerry (BB.TO) were down 4.75% and 3%, respectively. CGI Group (GIB.A.TO) was down nearly 2%.

Among healthcare stocks, CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) declined 4.7%. A report in Bloomberg, citing sources directly familiar with the matter, says senior operating staff working at CannTrust Holding Inc. (TRST.TO)'s Ontario facility late last year brought cannabis seeds from the black market into production rooms, leading to some illicitly-grown pot flowing into the legal market.

Cronos Group (CRON.TO), Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) and Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) were down 3 to 4.2%, while Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) lost 2.2% and 2%, respectively.

U.S. stocks moved higher this morning amid optimism about further stimulus from global central banks. The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates at a meeting on Thursday.

There are expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rate next week.

Investors were also optimistic about high-level trade talks scheduled for next month.

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