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Healthcare, Technology Stocks Lift TSX

(RTTNews.com) - Despite commodity prices drifting lower and worries about global growth and trade issues not fading any significantly, the Canadian stock market ended on a firm note on Monday, led by gains in healthcare, technology and energy shares.

After opening marginally higher, the market gained in strength as the session progressed. Although the market ended stronger, the undertone was a bit cautious with investors awaiting new developments on Brexit and U.S.-China trade issues.

Information technology shares moved up, thanks to fairly decent earnings reports thus far from U.S. technology majors. Cannabis stocks rose with investors betting on hopes of greater opportunity for cannabis producers in the medical marijuana market.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 96.01 points, or 0.62%, at 15,602.32. The index scaled a low of 15,513.70 and a high of 15,606.34 in the session.

The Healthcare Index ended almost 5% up. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) zoomed nearly 13%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) soared almost 12%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) surged up 8.8%, Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) gained about 5%, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD.TO) advanced by 4.1% and Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) gained 2.2%. Shares of Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) ended 2.6% up.

The Capped Information Technology Index gained 1.62%. CGI Inc. (GIB.A.TO), Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Constellation Software (CSU.TO), Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO), BlackBerry (BB.TO), Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO), Kinaxis (KXS.TO), Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) gained 1.25% to 2.2%.

Energy stocks started off on a weak note, but moved higher as the day progressed despite a drop in crude oil prices. The Capped Energy Index added 1.17%.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) gained 1.5 to 2.3%.

Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) gained 1.03%, PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) added 1.3% and Tourmaline Oil Corp (TOU.TO) advanced by 0.8%. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) declined by nearly 4%.

The Capped Financial Index ended 0.41% up. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) gained 0.4 to 0.8%, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) edged up marginally.

Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Goldcorp (G.TO) and Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO) gained 0.8 to 1.2%. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) declined more than 2%.

Consumer staples stocks Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B.TO), Loblaw Companies (L.TO), Metro Inc (MRU.TO), Cott Corporation (BCB.TO), Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO) and Premium Brands Holdings (PBH.TO) gained 0.7 to 1.3%. George Weston (WN.TO) and Empire Company (EMP.A.TO) also ended on a firm note.

In the consumer discretionary section, Dollarama (DOL.TO) gained about 2.15% and Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) ended 1% up.

In the U.S. market, stocks moved higher after a lackluster start and the major averages recorded their best closing levels in two months. The Dow ended 1.7% up and the Nasdaq jumped 1.2%, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.7%.

European markets ended on a mixed note with investors reacting to earnings reports and a slew of economic data.

Data from Eurostat showed Eurozone industrial producer prices to have decreased for a second straight month in January.

Investor sentiment in Eurozone dropped in February, with the Sentix research group's investor sentiment index falling to -3.7, from -1.5 in January. The latest reading marked the lowest level in more than four years.

Construction activity in the U.K. dropped to a 10-month low. Turkey's consumer price inflation accelerated in January, rising 20.35% year-on-year, after a 20.3% increase in December. Meanwhile, Italian consumer price inflation eased to its lowest level in nine month.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down $0.70, or 1.3%, at $54.56 a barrel.

Gold futures for April ended down $2.80, or about 0.2%, at $1,319.30 an ounce.

Silver futures for March settled at $15.886 an ounce, down $0.045 for the session and Copper futures for March ended down $0.0215, at $2.7945 per pound.

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