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TSX Fails To Hold Early Gains, Settle Slightly Weak

Despite a strong performance by global stock markets, the Canadian stock market failed to hold early gains and settled slightly weak on Friday, due to a stronger loonie thanks to upbeat jobs data, and a sell-off in gold stocks.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 7.52 points, or 0.05%, at 16,415.16, less than a couple of points off the day's low. The index touched a high of 16,516.71 in morning trades.

Energy stocks moved higher, tracking a firm trend in crude oil prices.

Among the prominent losers in the session were, Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO), which plunged nearly 11%, Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO), which fell 5.5%, and B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO), Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), which ended lower by 5 to 6%.

Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) declined 2 to 4%.

Among the star performers of the day, Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) rallied 7.2%, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) gained 5.7% and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) gained 4.4%.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO), Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 1 to 2.6% on strong volumes.

Upbeat Canadian jobs data for the month of September lifted loonie. According to the data released by Statistics Canada, employment rose by 53,700 jobs in September compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 5,000 jobs.

That follows an increase of 81,100 jobs in August.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.5% in September from 5.7% in August. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged.

The U.S. market ended on an upbeat note as traders expressed continued optimism about U.S.-China trade talks, with President Donald Trump announcing late in the trading day that the two economic superpowers have reached a "very substantial phase one deal."

Trump said the deal includes up to $40 to $50 billion in Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products as well as Chinese concessions on intellectual property and financial services.

In exchange for the concessions by China, the U.S. has agreed to hold off on an increase in tariffs originally scheduled for next week.

The major averages ended with strong gains. The Dow jumped 1.2%, the Nasdaq spiked 1.3% and the S&P 500 surged up 1.1%.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region and Europe closed on a firm note on Friday on trade talks optimism.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for November ended up $1.15, or about 2.2%, at $54.70 a barrel, the highest settlement in about two weeks.

Gold futures for December ended down $12.20, or about 0.8%, at $1,488.70 an ounce, after falling to a low of $1,478.00 around mid morning.

Silver futures for December ended down $0.058, at $17.544 an ounce, while Copper futures for December closed up $0.0145, at $2.6280 per pound.

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