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Canadian Shares Up Firmly In Positive Territory

The Canadian market was up firmly in positive territory Wednesday noon with stocks gaining in strength after a flat start.

Optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal and some strong quarterly earnings reports aided sentiment and pushed up stock prices.

Consumer staples, utilities, materials and information technology shares are among the notable gainers. A few stocks from financial, telecommunications and industrial sections also moved higher. Energy stocks were weak, tracking lower crude oil prices, while healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks were mostly subdued.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 64.10 points, or 0.37%, at 16,746.02 a few minutes before noon. The index, which touched a low of 16,666.88 in early trades, rallied to 16,766.58 before paring some gains.

On Tuesday, the index ended up 12.11 points, or 0.1%, at 16,681.29, after spending the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Among the stocks in the consumer staples space, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ATD.B.TO) gained nearly 2.5%, Metro Inc. (MRU.TO) was up 2% and Loblaw (L.TO) advanced 1.5%.

Among materials stocks, Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO) soared 8% and Alacer Gold Corp (ASR.TO) gained nearly 5%. Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Oceanagold Corp (OGC.TO) and Detour Gold Corp (DGC.TO) were up 1.5 to 4%.

B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) was up more than 3% after reporting net income of $56 million ($0.05 per share) compared to $11 million ($0.01 per share) in the prior-year quarter.

Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) shares gained about 2.5% after the company said its adjusted net profit for the latest quarter tripled compared to the year-ago period thanks to higher gold output and surge in gold prices.

Information technology stock CGI Inc. (GIB.A.TO) gained more than 3%. The company reported net earnings of $324.1 million for the fourth quarter, an increase of 10.4% over the year-ago quarter. Fourth quarter revenue was $2.96 billion, an increase of $160.3 million or 5.7% compared with the same period last year.

In economic news, the Ivey PMI for Canada fell to 48.2 in October 2019 from 48.7 in the previous month. This is the lowest level for the index since March 2015.

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