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Stocks Flat as Pot Producers Strengthen

Equities in Canada's biggest centre were pretty much unchanged midday Thursday, as gains in cannabis producers and miners offset early weakness following poor readings on U.S. services sector activity.

The TSX Composite Index had eked higher by 0.96 points to greet noon Thursday at 16,311.93

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.06 cents at 75.08 cents U.S.

Miners jumped, with shares in Torex Gold Resources hurtling 94 cents, or 5.7%, to $17.49, Yamana Gold up 14 cents, or 3.2%, to $4.59, and Barrick Gold rising 32 cents, or 1.4%, to $23.44, as the safe-haven appeal of the metal got a boost in the wake of the data.

Weed companies were among the top gainers, with shares in Aurora Cannabis jumping 24 cents, or 4.3%, to $5.80, after the company provided positive updates on global operations. Shares of Aphria gained three cents to $6.89, and Canopy Growth strengthened 65 cents, or 2.2%, to $29.98

The top decliner in Canada's main index was manufacturing firm Linamar, which slumped $4.62, or 11.3%, to $36.35, after warning of the negative impact on its earnings from trade uncertainties and an autoworkers' strike at General Motors

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 1.8 points to 556.64

Eight of the 12 Toronto subgroups picked up steam by noon hour, with health-care recuperating 1.6%, gold brighter 1.3%, and consumer staples better by 0.9%.

The four laggards were weighed most by energy, down 1%, consumer discretionary, off 0.8%, and financials, sliding 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Thursday, recovering from steep losses as expectations for the Federal Reserve to further ease monetary policy assuaged concerns over the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered from triple-digit losses in the morning to each Wednesday's close of 26,079.38.

The S&P 500 regained 5.22 points to 2,892.83

The NASDAQ Composite resuscitated 34.09 points to 7,819.34, after falling as much as 1.1%

The Institute for Supply Management said its reading on the U.S. services sector fell last month to its lowest level level since August 2016. The ISM non-manufacturing index came in at 52.6 for September. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 55.3.

Earlier this week, ISM posted its weakest reading on the manufacturing sector in more than 10 years, sparking fears of an economic recession.

However, the probability of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve this month increased following the ISM's report release. Expectations for an October rate cut jumped to 93.5% from 77% on Wednesday.

The Fed is scheduled to meet at the end of the month. Last month, the central bank cut rates for the second time in 2019.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury shot sharply higher, lowering yields to 1.54% from Wednesday's 1.59%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid 52 cents to $52.12 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $5.90 to $1,513.80 U.S. an ounce.

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