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Stocks Dip into Negative Country

Canada's main stock index dropped slightly by noon hour ET on Thursday, though cannabis stocks sprang ahead as legalization of marijuana derivatives including edibles and beverages took effect. Communication and discretionary stocks weighed the index down

The TSX Composite Index slid 17.98 points to at 16,409.20

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.40 cents to 76.15 cents U.S.

Shares of Cronos Group were the top performer on TSX with a jump of 58 cents, or 5.3%, to $11.61, while those of Aurora Cannabis climbed 24 cents, or 5.1%, to $4.98. Meanwhile, Canopy Growth surged 50 cents, or 1.9%, to $26.52, while Hexo Corp rose 41 cents, or 12.6%, to $3.66.

So-called Cannabis 2.0 comes a year after Canada legalized use of recreational marijuana. Sales are expected to begin in mid-December.

Another bright spot was shares of First Quantum Minerals, which jumped $1.34, or 13.4%, to $11.31, after Pangaea Investment Management, backed by one of China's biggest copper producers Jiangxi Copper, raised its stake in the Canadian miner to 10.8%.

Enerplus fell 29 cents, or 3.4%, the most on the TSX, to $8.28. The second biggest decliner was Ag Growth International, down $1.94, or 4.8%, to $38.75

On matters macroeconomic, Statistics Canada reported manufacturing sales rose 0.8% to $57.6 billion in August, following two consecutive monthly declines.

The transportation equipment and fabricated metal industries were mainly responsible for the growth in August.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange pointed upward 2.05 points to 541.10

Seven of the 12 Toronto subgroups had plunged into the red by noon, with consumer discretionary and communications stocks each skidding 0.7%, while financials slid 0.6%.

The four gainers were led by health-care, ahead 2.6%, gold, up 2.4%, and materials, surging 1.8%.

Tech stocks were unchanged midday Thursday.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were fairly flat on Thursday, giving up most of their earlier gains, despite strong earnings results from companies such as Netflix and Morgan Stanley. Investors also digested news of European Union and the U.K. striking a deal on Brexit.

The Dow Jones Industrials sank 18.07 points to move into noon hour at 26,983.91

The S&P 500 came off its highs of the morning, but still led breakeven by 3.95 points to 2,993.64.

The NASDAQ Composite stayed afloat 11.83 points to 8,136.92

Netflix shares jumped 4% after the video streamer posted earnings that topped analyst expectations. The company reported a bigger-than-expected increase in international paid subscribers, which mitigated a big miss in domestic subscriber adds.

Morgan Stanley also got a boost from its quarterly numbers, trading more than 2% higher. The bank's results got a boost from stronger-than-anticipated trading and advisory revenues.

Overall, the corporate earnings season is off to a solid start. More than 76% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have topped analyst earnings expectations

Stocks also rose after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we have a great new Brexit deal" via Twitter. He called on British lawmakers to back the deal when it's put before Parliament on Saturday. Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that the deal was a "fair and balanced" one.

This is not a done deal, however. The U.K. Parliament has to approve the deal before it can be implemented.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury regained strength, lowering yields to 1.73% from Wednesday's 1.75%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices lost 42 cents to $52.94 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $6.20 to $1,500.20 U.S. an ounce.

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