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TSX Hits New Record High, Ends On Strong Note

The Canadian stock market ended on a strong note on Wednesday, riding on impressive gains in healthcare, energy and information technology sectors.

Optimism about earnings and data showing a bigger-than-expected jump in retail sales in the month of February aided the surge.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up by 181.86 points or 0.95% at 19,356.95, after hitting a fresh all-time high at 19,403.54.

The Capped Healthcare Index climbed 3.76%. Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO) and Aphria Inc (APHA.TO) spurted 9% and 8.8%, respectively. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained nearly 5%, Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) moved up 4% and Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) gained 3.6%.

The Energy Index rose 3.25%. MEG Energy (MEG.TO), the biggest gainer in the Index, soared 7.15%. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) surged up nearly 7% and Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) gained 6.25%. Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO) rallied 5.6%.

The Information Technology Index advanced 3.1%. Shopify Inc (SHOP.TO) climbed more than 11% on turnaround results. Shopify Inc.'s net income soared to US $1.26 billion in its latest quarter. The company posted net loss of US$31.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Hut 8 Mining Corp (HUT.TO), Tecys Inc (TCS.TO), Alithya Group (ALYA.TO), Photon Control (PHO.TO), Descartes Systems (DSG.TO), Kinaxis Inc (KXS.TO), Absolute Software Corp (ABST.TO) and Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) ended higher by 2 to 5.25%.

CGI Inc. (GIB.A.TO) announced it earned $341.2 million or $1.34 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $314.8 million or $1.18 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. The stock gained about 1.6%.

U.S. stocks ended modestly lower today. The Dow slid 0.5%, the Nasdaq dipped 0.3% and the S&P 500 edged down 0.1%.

The Federal Reserve left interest rates and asset purchases unchanged even as the central bank upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy.

The Fed also reiterated that it expects rates to remain at near-zero levels until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with its assessments of maximum employment and inflation is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time.

The central bank also said it plans to continue its bond purchases at a rate of at least $120 billion per month until "substantial further progress" has been made toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability.

Citing progress on vaccinations and strong policy support, the Fed noted indicators of economic activity and employment have "strengthened," which reflects a modest upgrade from last month, when the central bank said the indicators have "turned up recently."

The Fed also said the sectors most adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic remain weak but have shown improvement.

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