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Canadian Market Remains In Positive Territory; Healthcare Stocks Rebound

Despite weak jobs data, the Canadian stock market opened slightly higher Friday morning, and remains firmly entrenched in positive territory in early afternoon trades, led by gains in healthcare, energy, materials and consumer discretionary shares.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 155.35 points or 0.81% at 19,446.33 nearly an hour past noon. The index hit a new high at 19,462.05.

The Capped Healthcare Index is climbing more than 6% with several stocks in the sector bouncing back strongly after recent sharp losses. Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO) is soaring 13.5%. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) is gaining nearly 8% and Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) is up 5.7%. Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO) is gaining 4% and Cronos Group (CRON.TO) is rising 3.5% and Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) is surging up 2%.

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (AUP.TO) is plunging 17.5% on dismal results, and Aphria Inc (APHA.TO) is declining 5.6%.

Energy stocks Arc Resources (ARX.TO) and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) are up 3.7% and 2.3%, respectively. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) are gaining 1.2 to 1.6%.

Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) reported a first-quarter profit of $1.9 billion or 94 cents per share compared with a loss of $1.4 billion or 71 cents per share in the same quarter last year when it took a number of large one-time charges. The stock is down by about 1%.

Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO) said it posted a profit of $220 million in its latest quarter compared with a loss of $1.8 billion a year ago. The company said it earned a profit of 10 cents per share in the latest quarter compared with a loss of $1.46 per share in the year-ago quarter. The stock is lower by 0.7%.

In the materials section, Oceanagold Corp (OGC.TO) is zooming 17.3%, Lithium Americas Corp (LAC.TO) is gaining 8.5%, Turquoise Hill Resources (TRO.TO) is up 7.5% and Equinox Gold (EQX.TO) is rising 5.5%. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO), Nutrien (NTR.TO) and Torex Gold (TXG.TO) are also up sharply.

Among consumer discretionary stocks, Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) is up 5.6%, Brp Inc (DOO.TO) is gaining 3.3% and Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) is rising 3%. Linamar Corp (LNR.TO), Magna International (MG.TO), Martinrea International (MRE.TO) and Artizia Inc (ATZ.TO) are gaining nearly 2% each, and Sleep Country Canada Holdings (ZZZ.TO) is up 1.3%.

Telus Corp. (T.TO) reported net income of $331 million or 25 cents per share for the first quarter of this financial year, compared with net income of $350 million or 28 cents per share a year ago. Telus shares are gaining 0.5%.

Data released by Statistics Canada showed employment in Canada decreased by 207,100 in April after seen an increase of over 303,000 in the previous month. Full-time employment dropped by 129,400 in the month, while part-time employment decreased to -77,800.

The data also showed unemployment rate in Canada rose to 8.1% in April, up from 7.5% in March.

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