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Toronto stock index makes meagre gain, as energy and gold sectors weigh

TORONTO — Gains in the health-care and telecommunications sectors helped prevent Canada's main stock index from falling into the red Monday, as energy and gold shares weighed. The S&P/TSX composite index added 5.83 points to 16,004.40.
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TORONTO — Gains in the health-care and telecommunications sectors helped prevent Canada's main stock index from falling into the red Monday, as energy and gold shares weighed.

The S&P/TSX composite index added 5.83 points to 16,004.40. Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl. Inc. (TSX:VRX) and Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP) had some of the biggest advances, up more than six per cent and nearly four per cent respectively at the closing of markets.

Shares of Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB) also moved up more than six per cent amid news the marijuana producer is pushing ahead with plans for an all-stock takeover offer for CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:CMED) after failing to reach an agreement with the company's board.

On a rough day for most energy stocks, which fell sharply amid slumping crude prices, TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) saw its shares climb nearly two per cent after Nebraska regulators approved an alternate route through the state for the company's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It was the last major regulatory hurdle facing the $10-billion, 1,897-kilometre project, though opponents say another round of federal approval may now be needed.

The January crude contract was down 29 cents at US$56.42 per barrel.

South of the border, it was a positive day on Wall Street as U.S. stocks made back most of Friday's losses.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 72.09 points to 23,430.33. The S&P 500 index edged up 3.29 points to 2,582.14 and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 7.92 points to 6,790.71.

"It's a fairly quiet day," said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis. "When left to its devices, this market seems to be inclined to go higher, and I think that's what we're getting today."

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at 78.17 cents US, down 0.06 of a U.S. cent.

Elsewhere in commodities, the December gold contract fell US$21.20 to US$1,275.30 an ounce. The December natural gas contract declined five cents to US$3.05 per mmBTU and the December copper contract added three cents to US$3.09 a pound.

 

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David Hodges, The Canadian Press