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Canadian Market Hovering Around New High; Energy Stocks Drift Lower

The Canadian stock market is fairly well entrenched in positive territory about an hour past noon on Monday, led by gains in utilities, materials and financial shares.

Investors are picking up stocks, reacting to upbeat U.S. non-farm payroll data that has raised optimism about global economic recovery. Weak crude oil prices are weighing on the market, limiting its upside.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 56.59 points or 0.3% at 19,046.91 about an hour past noon. The index hit a new all-time high of 19,082.65 today.

Among the gainers in the Utilities index, Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp (AQN.TO) is rising 5.2%. Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP.UN.TO) is gaining 2.8%, while Fortis Inc (FTS.TO), Emera Inc (EMA.TO) and Brookfield Infra Partners (BIP.UN.TO) are uip 1 to 1.2%.

In the materials section, Ero Copper (ERO.TO) and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) are gaining 6.25% and 6.1%, respectively. Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO), Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO), Canfor Corp (CFP.TO), Interfor Corp (IFP.TO), West Fraser Timber (WFG.TO), Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ.TO) and Lundin Mining Corp (LUN.TO) are up 2.5 to 5%.

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM.A.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Laurentian Bank (LB.TO) and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), gaining between 0.8% and 2%, are the notable gainers in the financial section.

Energy stocks Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Arc Resources (ARX.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) and PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) are down 2 to 7%.

Data from U.S. Labor Department on Friday showed employment in the U.S. spiked by much more than expected in the month of March. The data said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 916,000 jobs in March after climbing by an upwardly revised 468,000 jobs in February.

Economists had expected employment to jump by 647,000 jobs compared to the addition of 379,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

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