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Canadian Market Modestly Higher An Hour Past Noon

After opening slightly up Wednesday morning and briefly slipping into negative territory, the Canadian stock market advanced to a new high before paring gains, due largely to some profit taking.

The undertone remains positive, but buying interest is somewhat subdued with investors tracking updates on virus and vaccine news, the latest batch of economic data and looking ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

Healthcare stocks are weak. A few stocks from consumer staples, information technology, real estate and telecom stocks are finding support. Materials, energy and financial stocks are turning in a mixed performance.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 30.54 points or 0.16% at 19,134.68 nearly an hour past noon.

Data released by Statistics Canada a little while ago showed the country recorded a trade surplus of C$1.04 billion in February after coming in at a revised C$1.21 billion in the previous month.

Exports were down at C$49.86 billion in February, from C$51.22 billion a month earlier, while imports came in at $48.82 billion in the month, after coming in at C$50.02 billion in January.

The Ivey Purchasing Manager's Index in Canada jumped to 72.9 in March of 2021 from 60 in the previous month and above market estimates of 60.5. It was the highest reading since March of 2011 and the second-highest since the survey began in 2000, pointing to a strong improvement in the economic activity.

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