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Canadian Stocks Up Marginally After Weak Start

The Canadian stock market was up slightly in positive territory a little past noon on Monday, after having opened on a weak note amid cautious moves by investors.

While optimism about U.S.-China trade deal and easing worries over concerns about U.S.-Iran tensions aided sentiment, weak gold and crude oil prices weighed on the market.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which declined to a low of 17,198.88 in early trades, was up 11.61 points, or 0.07%, at 17,246.10 a few minutes past noon.

Healthcare stocks, especially in the cannabis space, moved up sharply. The Capped Healthcare Index rose more than 2.5%. Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) topped the list of gainers in the index, rising 8.75%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) gained 7.25%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) advanced 5.7% and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) moved up 4.5%.

Industrial and information technology shares were among the other prominent gainers. In the industrial space, Ballard Power Systems (BLDP.TO) soares nearly 14%

Cargojet (CJT.TO) gained about 3.5%, while Morneau Shepell (MSI.TO) and Westshore Terminal Investment Corp (WTE.TO) were both up by about 2.1%. Air Canada (AC.TO), Ritchie Bros Auctioneers (RBA.TO), New Flyer Industries (NFI.TO), Ag Growth International (AFN.TO) and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) gained 1 to 1.7%.

Among information technology stocks, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained more than 3% and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) moved up 2.5%.

In the materials section, Novagold (NG.TO), Centerra Gold Inc. (CG.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO), Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) and Detour Gold Corp (DGC.TO) shed 2 to 6%.

On the other hand, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO) and Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO) gained 3 to 4%.

Among energy shares, Husky Energy (HSE.TO) declined 3.4% and Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO) was down 2.2%, while Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) declined 1 to 1.7%.

In the financial section, Onex Corp (ONEX.TO) and Tmx Group (X.TO) gained 1% and 2.3%, respectively, while Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO), Power Financial Corporation (PWF.TO) and Great-West Lifeco Inc (GWO.TO) were down 1.2 to 2%.

On the U.S.-China trade front, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit Washington this week to sign the phase one trade deal, which is said to include reduced tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for increased Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview on Sunday that the agreement calls for China to purchase $40 to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products annually.

Mnuchin described the agreement as "very, very extensive," although the deal will not completely resolve the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

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