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Canadian Market Holds In Positive Territory As Healthcare Stocks Rebound

After opening modestly higher and briefly falling into the red, the Canadian stock market emerged into positive territory again Friday morning as healthcare and consumer discretionary shares rebounded from recent losses.

Shares from energy, materials, financial and technology sections are turning in a mixed performance.

Sluggish commodity prices and disappointing Canadian retail sales data are weighing a bit.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which slid to 18,271.44 after opening at 18,317.46, was up 63.87 points or 0.35% at 18,337.94 about a three quarter past noon. The index touched a high of 18,369.36.

The Capped Healthcare Index is surging up 3.35%. Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TRIL.TO) shares are gaining 5.7%, while Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) both are up by about 5.6%. Cronos Group (CRON.TO) is rising 3.3% and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is gaining 1.7%, while Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (AUP.TO) and Chartwell Retirement Residences (CSH.UN.TO) both are up by a little over 1%.

In the consumer discretionary section, Magna International (MG.TO) is climbing up nearly 10%.

Linamar Corp (LNR.TO) is rising 4.7% and Sleep Country Canada Holdings (ZZZ.TO) is up 2.5%, while Martinrea International (MRE.TO), Aritzia Inc. (ATZ.TO), Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO), Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.A.TO) and Spin Master (TOY.TO) are up 1 to 1.8%.

Ballard Power Systems (BLDP.TO), up 8%, is the top gainer in the industrial section. Gfi Environmental Inc. (GFL.TO) is rising 3.5% and Cae Inc. (CAE.TO) is up 3.2%, while Exchange Income Corp. (EIF.TO), Finning International (FII.TO), Ats Automation (ATA.TO), Air Canada (AC.TO), WSP Global (WSP.TO) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) are gaining 1.8 to 3%.

CGI Inc. (GIB.A. TO) said it has signed a deal to buy back and cancel 4.2 million of its class-A subordinate voting shares from the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec for $400 million. CGI said it will pay $95.13 per share, a slight discount to the stock's closing price of $98.07 on Thursday. The stock is down by about 1.7%.

Enerplus Corporation (ERF.TO) shares are down 1.7% after the company reported a fourth quarter net loss of $204.2 million or $0.92 per share, compared to a net loss of $429.1 million or $1.93 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Data from Statistics Canada showed retail sales in the country decreased 3.4% in December over the previous month. In November, retail sales had surged 1.3%. Sales were expected to drop by 2.5% in December.

Retail sales ex-autos, fell 4.1% month-on-month in December, the data showed.

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