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TSX Scales New Peak After Flat Start

The Canadian stock market is modestly higher Wednesday noon, despite having edged down slightly in early trades. Energy stocks are among the top gainers, while a few key stocks from consumer discretionary, information technology and industrial sections are also up with notable gains.

A few healthcare shares are sharply lower, while financial and materials shares are turning in a mixed performance.

The market is up amid easing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak following the number of new cases dropping to the lowest level since late January.

China's National Health Commission reported 1,749 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the nationwide total to 74,185. More than 2,000 people have died as a result of the outbreak.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which edged down to 17,851.27 in early trades, rose to a new high at 17,914.17 later on in the morning, and is currently up 44.55 points, or about 0.25%, at 17,892.59.

MEG Energy Corp (MEG.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) are up 2.75 to 3.5%.

Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) are gaining 1.2 to 2%.

In the consumer discretionary section, Shares of Stars Group Inc. (TSGI.TO) are gaining nearly 4.5%. Magna International (MG.TO) is rising 2.3%, while Mty Food Group (MTY.TO) and Dollarama (DOL.TO) are up 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively.

Among the stocks in the healthcare space, Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) is down 8.75% after the company reported net loss of $1.516 billion for the fourth quarter of 2019, as compared to net loss of $344 million for the same period in 2018.

Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) is down by about 2.5%, while Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO), Cronos Group (CRON.TO) and Knight Therapeutics (GUD.TO) are down 0.4 to 1%, while Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) is gaining 3.75%.

Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) said it will be laying off about 450 workers in its operations in Eastern Canada after cancelling more than 400 trains in the past week. The cancellation was due to a rail blockade in protest over an LPG pipeline in British Canada. The stock is currently hovering around its previous closing prices.

Nutrien Ltd. (NTR.TO) reported net loss of $48 million ($0.08 diluted loss per share) for the fourth quarter of 2019. The stock is gaining about 2.5%.

On the economic front, data from Statistics Canada showed Canada's consumer price index rose 2.4% on a year-over-year basis in January, up from a 2.2% increase in December. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1% in January, the data showed.

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