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TSX Ends Modestly Higher After Volatile Session

The Canadian stock market faltered after a fairly good spell in positive territory during the first half of the morning session on Wednesday, and despite languishing in the red for the most part of the next few hours, rebounded in the final hour to end the day on a positive note.

The mood was cautious right through the session as surging coronavirus cases in several states across the U.S. and in many other countries raising doubts about a quick economic recovery.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended the day with a modest gain of 33.69 points or 0.22% at 15,629.19, after scaling a high of 15,706.92 and a low of 15,533.09 intraday.

Materials stocks had a good outing, thanks to another jump in gold prices. The Capped Materials Index surged up more than 2% as several key stocks in the section posted handsome gains. Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO), Silvercorp Metals (SVM.TO), First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Pan American Silver (PAAS.TO) and First Majestic Silver (FR.TO) rallied 7 to 7.6%. Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO), Canfor Corp (CFP.TO), Semafo (SMF.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) and Alacer Gold Corp (ASR.TO) gained 4 to 7%,

B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO), Franco-Nevada (FNV.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) also rose sharply.

Information technology and industrial shares were the other prominent gainers. Constellation Software (CSU.TO) and Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) gained 3.6% and 3.3%, respectively.

Among industrial shares, Air Canada (AC.TO) and Ballard Power Systems (BLDP.TO) both gained about 2.2%. Tfi International (TFII.TO) and Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) gained 1.7% and 1%, respectively.

Healthcare and energy stocks tumbled. Telecom stocks too ended mostly lower, while financial and consumer discretionary stocks ended mixed.

In the healthcare section, Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) declined by about 3.7%. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) eased by about 2.3%, while Knight Therapeutics (GUD.TO) and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) lost 1.85% and 1.6%, respectively.

Husky Energy (HSE.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) were among the notable losers in the energy index. These stocks ended lower by 2 to 4.8%.

Among telecom stocks, Cogeco Communications (CCA.TO) declined 4.2%, while Quebecor Inc. (QBR.B.TO), Rogers Communications (RCI.B.TO) and Corus Entertainment (CJR.B.TO) lost 2.2 to 2.7%.

In the financial section, Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO), Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) and Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO) closed with sharp to moderate gains, while Laurentian Bank (LB.TO), Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) lost 0.4 to 0.8%.

Among consumer discretionary shares, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GC.TO), Brp Inc. (DOO.TO) and Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO) gained 2 to 2.6%, while Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) and Sleep Country Canada Holdings (ZZZ.TO) declined 2% and 1.1%, respectively.

The market breadth was a bit weak. Out of 1,906 stocks traded on the exchange, 717 stocks moved up and 965 stocks declined, while 224 stocks ended flat.

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