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TSX Ends Marginally Higher

Despite spending much of the day's session in the red, the Canadian stock market managed to close on the positive side on Thursday, riding on gains in technology shares.

The mood was cautious due to rising coronavirus cases across the world and worries about the economic impact of increasing lockdown restrictions at several places.

The market, which continued to track developments on the Covid-19 vaccine front, reacted to commodity prices and also digested the data on private sector employment.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a gain of 19.99 points or 0.12% at 16,909.81, after scaling a low of 16,813.64 and a high of 16,922.63 intraday.

The Capped Information Technology index surged up nearly 1.25%. Docebo Inc. (DCBO.TO) rose 4.75%, Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) gained about 4% and Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) moved up 3.6%. Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO), Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) gained 2%, 1.8% and 1.25%, respectively.

In the materials space, Norbord Inc. (OSB.TO) soared more than 11% following West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (WFT.TO) signing a deal to acquire the company in an all-stock transaction valued at $4.0 billion.

The deal will see Norbord shareholders receive 0.675 of a West Fraser share for each Norbord share they hold. Shares of West Fraser Timber ended lower by about 2%.

Interfor Corp (IFP.TO), Intertape Polymer (ITP.TO), Canfor Corp (CFP.TO), Osisko Mining (OSK.TO) and Teranga Gold Corp (TGZ.TO) gained 1.3 to 3.3%.

Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Pan American Silver Corp (PAAS.TO), Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO) and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) lost 1.3 to 2.5%.

Energy stocks MEG Energy (MEG.TO), PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Arc Resources (ARX.TO) and Parex Resources (PXT.TO) gained 1 to 2.2%, while Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO) lost 1.5 to 2.1%.

In the financial section, Laurentian Bank (LB.TO), Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO), Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) lost 0.6 to 1%. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) moved up 0.8%.

Among healthcare stocks, Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) gained about 1.35%, while Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) and Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO) lost 3.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

In economic news, data from ADP showed private businesses in Canada shed 79500 workers in October 2020, after cutting an upwardly revised 564400 thousand jobs in the previous month, amid the coronavirus crisis.

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