(RTTNews.com) - The Canadian stock market ended modestly higher on Thursday, shrugging off data that showed the country's GDP to have edged down in November.
Energy stocks lost their way after a steady start, but strong gains in materials, technology and healthcare sections guided the market to a positive close. A few stocks from consumer staples, consumer discretionary and telecommunications sections too posted notable gains. Financial and industrials shares were somewhat sluggish.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 56.05 points, or 0.36%, at 15,540.60. The index scaled a low of 15,486.47 and a high of 15,564.61 in the session.
According to data released by Statistics Canada, gross domestic product shrank by 0.1% in November, offsetting partly an increase of 0.3% in October. Economists had expected GDP to contract by 0.1%.
The Capped Materials Index gained 1.42%. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) jumped nearly 7%. Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV.TO), Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), Goldcorp Inc. (G.TO), Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM.TO) and Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) ended higher by 1.3 to 3%, while Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO) gained nearly 1%.
B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) also rose sharply.
The Capped Information Technology Index gained 1.3%. CGI Group (GIB.A.TO), Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO) and Celestica Inc (CLS.TO) gained 1 to 1.3%, Sierra Wireless surged up 3.2% and Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO) gained 3.5%. Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO) and Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) also ended on a firm note.
The Capped Healthcare Index gained 2.75%. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) advanced by 2.1%, Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained 2.4%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) spurted 6.5%, Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) ended higher by 7.35% and Aphria (APHA.TO) soared 13.5%
Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) and Extendicare (EXE.TO) gained 1.5% and 0.7%, respectively.
Among bank stocks, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 0.37%, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) advanced 0.44% and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) ended modestly higher, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) declined 1.6%.
Consumer staples shares George Weston (WN.TO), Cott Corporation (BCB.TO), Saputo Inc. (SAP.TO) and Loblaw Companies (L.TO) ended with solid gains.
In the consumer discretionary space, The Stars Group (TSGI.TO) ended 2.8% up and Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) jumped 3.25%. Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO), Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GC.TO) and Linamar Corporation (LNR.TO) also closed on a firm note.
On Wall Street, the Nasdaq surged up 98.66 points or 1.4 percent to 7,281.74 and the S&P 500 advanced 23.05 points or 0.9 percent to 2,704.10, with both indexes reaching their best closing levels in nearly two months. On the other hand, the Dow edged down 15.19 points or 0.1 percent to 24,999.67.
In economic news from U.S., a report from the Labor Department said initial jobless claims surged up to 253,000 in the week ended January 26th, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week's revised level of 200,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 215,000.
With the much bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 254,000 in September of 2017.
The slightly upwardly revised reading on jobless claims in the previous week was still the lowest since a matching figure in October of 1973.
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed new home sales rebounded by much more than anticipated in November.
In commodities, crude oil futures for March ended down $0.44, or 0.8%, at $53.79 a barrel.
Gold futures for April ended up $9.70, or 0.7%, at $1,325.20 an ounce. Gold futures gained about 3.3% in January 2019.
Silver futures for March ended up $0.145, at $16.072 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $2.7845 per pound, gaining $0.0170 for the session.
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