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Canadian Stocks Up In Positive Territory After Sluggish Start

Canadian stocks are up in positive territory a little past noon on Monday after having opened on a somewhat sluggish start.

Lower crude oil prices and worries about the economic impact of the coronavirus rendered the mood cautious at the start.

Fairly strong housing starts and building permits data aided sentiment and pushed up prices.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 59.66 points, or 0.34%, at 17,715.15. The index, which edged down slightly to 17,646.62 in early trades, rose to 17,729.66 subsequently.

Shares from utilities, materials, consumer staples, information technology and real estate sections are moving higher. Energy and healthcare shares are weak, while financial, telecommunications and industrial shares are turning in a mixed performance.

In the utilities section, Transalta Corp (TA.TO), Innergex Renewable Energy (INE.TO), Boralex Inc. (BLX.TO) and Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP.UN.TO) are up 2 to 3%.

Among the stocks in the materials space, Silvercorp Metals (SVM.TO) is rising nearly 8%. Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO), Norbord Inc. (OSB.TO), Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Semafo (SMF.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO)and Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) are up 2 to 4.3%.

Among information technology shares, Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) is up nearly 2.5%. Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) and Absolute Software (ABT.TO) are both up by about 2%. Blackberry (BB.TO) is rising 1.2%, while Constellation Software (CSU.TO), Photon Control (PHO.TO) and Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) are gaining 0.6 to 0.8%.

Energy stocks Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Arc Resources (ARX.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) are up 1 to 3.2%.

In economic news, data released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed the seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts in Canada rose 8.8% to 213,224 units in January 2020 from a month earlier.

According to a report from Statistics Canada, the value of building permits in Canada increased 7.4% from a month earlier to C$ 8.7 billion in December 2019, rebounding from an upwardly revised 3.5% decline in the previous month and above market forecasts of a 2.3% gain.

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