TSX Ends Slightly Weak

(RTTNews) - The Canadian market was down in negative territory almost right through the session on Thursday as investors stayed cautious amid conflicting news about U.S.-China trade negotiations.

After edging higher at the start, the market retreated and stayed in negative territory thereafter although it very nearly broke into the positive zone during the closing minutes.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended down 6.63 points, or 0.04%, at 16,999.19. The index, which advanced to 17,019.53 at the start, touched a low of 16,950.79 around mid morning.

Cannabis stocks were in demand on reports that the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize cannabis on a federal level in the United States.

Mirroring strong gains posted by these stocks, the Capped Healthcare Index climbed up 6.75%.

Energy and consumer staples shares were the other prominent gainers. Materials shares tumbled after gold prices retreated and settled their lowest levels in more than a week.

Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) soared 34%. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) gained 18.3% and Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) gained 15.1%. Cronos Group (CRON.TO) and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) lost about 11% and 10%, respectively.

In the energy section, MEG Energy (MEG.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Encana Corp (ECA.TO), Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Enerplus Corp (ERF.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO), ARC Resources (ARX.TO) and Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO) gained 1.5 to 5%.

Among consumer staples shares, Metro Inc. (MRU.TO) gained 2.7%. Cott Corp (BCB.TO), Empire Company (EMP.A.TO) and Weston George (WN.TO) gained 1.6 to 1.7%. Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO) advanced 1.1%.

Among the stocks in the materials index, Oceanagold Corp (OGC.TO) declined more than 11%. Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO), Seabridge Gold (SEA.TO), MAG Silver (MAG.TO), Torex Gold Resources (TXG.TO) and Alamos Gold (AGI.TO) lost 4 to 5%.

B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO), Iamgold (IMG.TO), Hudbay Minerals (HBM.TO), Novagold (NG.TO), Alacer Gold (ASR.TO), Barric Gold (ABX.TO), Semafo (SMF.TO) and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) lost 2.2 to 3.3%.

In economic news, data released by payroll services provider ADP showed Canada lost 22,600 jobs in October, driven by a decline in hiring in education and health care as well as the trade, transportation, utilities, natural resources and mining sectors.

U.S. stocks ended modestly lower on trade concerns. The major averages finished the session in negative territory but off their worst levels of the day.

European markets ended mostly lower. Markets across the Asia-Pacific region also settled weak.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended up $1.57, or about 2.8%, at $58.58 a barrel on Thursday, the highest settlement in about two months.

Gold futures for December ended down $10.60, or about 0.7%, at $1,463.60 an ounce.

Silver futures for December ended down $0.050 at $17.065 an ounce, while Copper futures for December settled at $2.6235 per pound, down $0.0260 from previous close.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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