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TSX Ends On Firm Note

The Canadian stock market ended on a firm note on Monday, after staying positive right through the session, amid optimism about coronavirus vaccine and on some big merger & acquisition news from the U.S.

Healthcare and materials shares were the star performers in the session. Several stocks from consumer discretionary, industrial and real estate sectors too closed with strong gains.

Information technology and financial stocks had a fairly decent outing, while energy stocks were weak.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a gain of 137.68 points or 0.85% at 16,360.14. The index touched a low of 16,295.08 and a high of 16,373.31 in the session.

Oxford University and AstraZeneca have announced the resumption of trials of the coronavirus vaccine after the U.K.'s Medicines Health Regulatory Authority allowed the resumption of phase III clinical trials.

AstraZeneca announced that it is working with other health authorities as to when they can resume the other studies on AZD1222. It had halted trials of the vaccine early last week due to safety concerns following a U.K. patient's unexplained illness,

In the healthcare space, Sienna Senior Living (SIA.TO) climbed 5.6%, while Cronos Group (CRON.TO), Aurinia Pharma (AUB.TO), Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) and Chartwell Retirement Residences (CSH.UN.TO) gained 3 to 3.4%. Aphria (APHA.TO), Knight Therapeutics (GUD.TO) and Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) also rose sharply.

Among materials shares, MAG Silver (MAG.TO), Oceanagold (OGC.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Pretium Resources (PVG.TO) and Silvercrest Metals (SIL.TO) gained 9 to 10%. B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), West Fraser Timber (WFT.TO) and Alacer Gold (ASR.TO) gained 6 to 8%.

Several other stocks from the materials space, including Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Kinross Gold (K.TO) and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) also ended with handsome gains.

Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO), Air Canada (AC.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO), Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) and Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) ended notably higher on strong volumes.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), BCE Inc. (BCE.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.TO), Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO), Rogers Communications (RCI.A.TO), Docebo Inc. (DCBO.TO) and BCE Inc. (BCE.TO) ended with sharp losses.

U.S. stocks closed with strong gains, thanks to a rebound by technology shares and on positive reaction to news about resumption of clinical trial of coronavirus vaccine by AstraZeneca.

The Dow closed higher by 1.2%, the Nasdaq soared 1.9% and the S&P 500 surged up 1.3%.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly higher, while European markets turned in a mixed performance.

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