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Canadian Market Up Firmly In Positive Territory

The Canadian stock market, which opened on a buoyant note Monday morning, remains high up in positive territory in early afternoon trades, with shares from several sectors holding their gains thanks to sustained buying interest.

Upbeat data on Canadian manufacturing activity, encouraging data from the U.S., optimism about quick economic recovery following the passage of a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill by the U.S. House, and the faster momentum in vaccine rollouts are aiding sentiment.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which soared to 18,363.22, was up 247.65 points or 1.37% at 18,307.01 at nearly half an hour past noon.

Shares from technology, healthcare, energy, financial and consumer discretionary sectors are among the top gainers.

Air Canada (AC.TO) is rising 4.2%. Air Canada announced an agreement to revise the capacity purchase agreement with Jazz Aviation. The agreement addresses the dramatic and sustained reduction in air travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by optimizing the Jazz fleet.

Enbridge (ENB.TO) is gaining 2.5%, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) is up 2.3%, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) are up 1 to 2%.

CAE Inc. (CAE.TO) shares are soaring nearly 14% after the company agreed to acquire the military training division of aerospace and defense technology firm L3Harris Technologies Inc. (LHX) for $1.05 billion, subject to customary adjustments. The acquisition will expand CAE's training systems integrator by diversifying its training and simulation leadership in the air domain, complementing land and naval training solutions, and enhancing training and simulation capabilities in space and cyber.

On the economic front, the IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing PMI rose to 54.8 in February of 2021 from 54.4 in the previous month. The latest reading pointed to the 8th straight month of expansion in the country's factory activity and at a stronger pace.

Data released by Statistics Canada showed Canada's current account deficit narrowed by C$ 3.2 billion to C$ 7.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to market forecasts of C$ 8.3 billion.

The U.S. House passed the Covid relief bill proposed by President Joe Biden on Saturday and the Bill has now been sent to the Senate. With Republicans questioning the need for another massive spending package, the Democrats are looking to clear it on their own on the Senate and send it to the President's desk before the unemployment aid programs expire by the end of second week.

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