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TSX Ends Notably Higher

Despite a slightly uncertain start and a subsequent long sluggish spell, the Canadian stock market ended on a firm note on Monday, riding on gains in information technology, materials and consumer discretionary stocks.

Although worries about the coronavirus continued to persist, investors reacted positively to Chinese President Xi Jinping's pledge to win the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 85.08 points, or 0.48%, at 17,740.57, slightly off the day's high of 17,743.60.

Information technology stocks Lightspeed Pos Inc. (LSPD.TO) and Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained 3.6% and 2.8%, respectively. Absolute Software (ABT.TO) and Constellation Software (CSU.TO) gained 1.5% and 1.02%, respectively.

In the materials space, Silvercorp Metals Inc. (SVM.TO) ended stronger by 7.3%. Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO) and Semafo (SMF.TO) both ended higher by about 5.2%, while Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), Ero Copper (ERO.TO), Wesdome Gold Mines (WDO.TO) and Novagold (NG.TO) gained 3 to 3.7%.

Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Alacer Gold (ASR.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO) and Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) also rose sharply.

Among consumer discretionary shares, Great Canadian Gaming Corp (GC.TO) soared nearly 11%. Real Matters (REAL.TO) gained 2.3%, while Brp Inc. (DOO.TO), Mty Food Group (MTY.TO) and Dollarama (DOL.TO) ended higher by 1.3 to 2%.

Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO) gained about 3.15%. The company reported adjusted net earnings of $351 million or 75 cents per share for the third quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to $318 million or 68 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO), Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) were amomg the stocks that moved up sharply on strong volumes.

Toromont Industries (TIH.TO), Brp Inc. (DOO.TO) and Premium Brands Holdings (PBH.TO) ended with strong gains.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) declined nearly 8%. Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO), Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) and WSP Global (WSP.TO) also closed notably lower.

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.

U.S. stocks shrugged off initial weakness and closed notably higher. The Dow climbed 0.6%, the S&P 500 advanced 0.7% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.1%.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended mostly lower. The major European markets too closed weak.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended down $0.75, or about 1.5%, at $49.57 a barrel, the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since early January 2019.

Gold futures for April ended up $6.10, or about 0.4%, at $1,579.50 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended up $0.093 at $17.785 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $2.5505 per pound, down $0.0025 from previous close.

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