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TSX Ends Flat After Lackluster Session

The Canadian stock market ended flat on Friday after a highly lackluster session, as investors appeared quite reluctant to create fresh positions after the market hit fresh record highs this week.

Geopolitical tensions faded after the U.S. decided against military action against Iran, there were positive developments on the trade front, and Canadian jobs data was fairly upbeat, but the market still failed to find enough support to move above the flat line.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 1.08 points, or 0.01%, at 17,234.49, after scaling a low of 17,187.22 and a high of 17,254.06 in the session.

Despite closing flat on two out of five sessions, the TSX gained almost 1% in the week and hit a new all-time high in the process.

Healthcare and consumer discretionary shares declined. The Capped Healthcare Index declined by about 2% and the Consumer Discretionary Index closed 1.24% down.

Energy, information technology and consumer staples shares were also weak. Shares from financial and industrial sections turned in a mixed performance, while materials shares gained on firm bullion prices.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) declined more than 11%. Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) and Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) ended lower by 3.2% and 2.5%, respectively.

Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) lost 1 to 1.6%. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) ended modestly lower.

First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) ended stronger by 4.7% and 4%, respectively. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) declined 2.5% and MEG Energy (MEG.TO) ended down 1.55%.

Maxar Technologies (MAXR.TO), Detour Gold Corporation (DGC.TO) and Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) gained 3.5 to 5.4%. Air Canada (AC.TO), Cae Inc. (CAE.TO) and Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.TO) also ended sharply higher.

On the other hands, BRP Inc. (DOO.TO), Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO), Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) and Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) ended lower by 1.7 to 4%.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada said the Canadian economy added 35,200 jobs in December 2019 after shedding 71,200 jobs in the previous month, which was the biggest decline since January 2009. Market had expected the economy to add about 25,000 jobs last month.

Full Time Employment in Canada increased by 38,400 in December 2019, while Part Time Employment dropped by 3,200 jobs in the month, compared to a drop of 32,800 a month earlier.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Canada fell to 5.6% in December 2019 from 5.9% in the previous month and below market expectations of 5.8%, data from Statistics Canada showed.

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