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TSX Ends On Firm Note

The Canadian stock market ended on a fairly positive note on Friday, riding on gains in information technology, materials and financial sections.

News about the U.S. and China agreeing on the text of a phase one trade deal and the likelihood of the two countries signing the deal sometime soon lifted sentiment in global markets.

As part of the agreement, the U.S. will not implement tariff hikes proposed to take effect on Sunday and instead, begin phasing out existing tariffs. Tariffs imposed on September 1 will now be cut to 7.5% from 15%, although the 25% tariff on other Chinese goods will remain in place.

China has reportedly agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of U.S. agricultural products, energy, and manufactured goods.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 56.23 points, or 0.33%, at 17,003.13, after scaling a low of 16,929.98 and a high of 17,036.79 in the session.

Technology stock Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) soared 20.6%. The company reported a net income of $24.7 million or $0.45 per share, for the fourth quarter, an increase of 26.3% from 19.6 million or $0.36 per diluted share last year.

Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained nearly 4%, while Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) advanced 0.8%.

In the materials space, First Majestic Silver Corp (FR.TO) gained more than 5%. Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Endeavour Mining Corp (EDV.TO), Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) and Osisko Gold Royalties (OR.TO) gained 3.5 to 5%.

Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO), Ssr Mining (SSRM.TO), Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Alacer Gold Corp (ASR.TO) and Nutrien (NTR.TO) also rose sharply.

Among the stocks in the financial index, Power Financial Corp (PWF.TO) rose nearly 10% and Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO) rallied 7.9%, after the two companies agreed to effect a reorganization transaction.

As per the proposal, Power Financial minority shareholders will receive 1.05 Power Corporation subordinate voting shares and nominal cash consideration in exchange for each Power Financial common share.

U.S. stocks ended roughly flat after a somewhat lackluster performance. The Dow inched up by less than a tenth of a percent. The Nasdaq edged up 0.2% and the S&P 500 ended flat.

Markets across Europe ended on a firm note. Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region also ended higher.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended up $0.89, or about 1.5%, at $60.07 a barrel, the highest settlement since mid-September.

Gold futures for February ended up $8.90, or about 0.6%, at $1,481.20 an ounce. Gold futures gained about 1.1% in the week.

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