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Canadian Shares Modestly Higher In Cautious Trade

After a flat start, the Canadian stock market edged higher Friday morning, and was up with modest gains by noon, with shares from healthcare and information technology sections surging higher.

The mood was somewhat cautious amid renewed uncertainty about a potential U.S.-China trade deal. Investors were also digesting a mixed batch of economic data and earnings reports for direction.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 46.01 points, or 0.27%, at 16,851.76 a little past noon.

On Thursday, the index ended up 60.11 points, or 0.36%, at 16,805.75.

The Capped Healthcare Index was up 2.1%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) gained nearly 7%. The company announced on Thursday that it will launch a new cannabis wellness company with Canadian rapper Drake in his hometown of Toronto. The new company, named More Life Growth Co., will be a fully licensed producer of cannabis.

Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) was up 5.5%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) gained 3.2%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) advanced 3.5%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained 2.3% and Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) was up by about 1.2%.

The Capped Information Technology Index advanced 1.75%. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) gained nearly 3.5%, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) moved up by about 3% and Constellation Software (CSU.TO) was up by about 2.5%, while Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) and CGI Group Inc (GIB.A.TO) were up 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively.

ARC Resources (ARX.TO) gained about 3% on strong volumes. Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) shares was up 2.3% after the company reported adjusted earnings of $1.12 billion, or 56 cents per share, for the quarter ending September 30, up from $933 million, or 55 cents per share last year.

On the economic front, data released by Statistics Canada showed employment in Canada decreased by 1.80 thousand in October 2019. Full-time employment in Canada decreased by 16.10 thousand in the month, while part time employment increased to 14.30 Thousand in October from -16.30 thousand in September 2019.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Canada came in at 5.5% in October 2019, unchanged form the previous month and in line with market expectations.

Another report from Statistics Canada said the value of building permits in Canada declined 6.5% from a year earlier to C$ 8.3 billion in September 2019, following a downwardly revised 5.6% rise in the previous month and more than an expected 2% fall.

According to data released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing Starts in Canada decreased to 201.97 Thousand units in October from 221.14 Thousand units in September of 2019.

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