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Stocks on Bay St Finish Higher

Equities in Canada's largest market traded higher Friday; adding to a five-day rally led by positive moves in the health-care sector.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 35.60 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 14,939.18.

Corus Entertainment Inc.'s earnings came in below estimates as its first-quarter profit fell from a year ago due to an accounting change related to its TV brand assets, but revenue edged higher due to gains in television advertising. The television, radio and production company says its profit fell to $60.4 million or 28 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Nov. 30 as amortization charges rose due to the accounting change. The result compared with a profit of $77.7 million or 38 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Aphria Inc (APHA.TO) said on Friday Chief Executive Officer Vic Neufield will step down in the coming months, at a time when the company is facing questions about its deals in Latin America and a recent slump in its shares. The company also said Vice-President Cole Cacciavillani will step down in the coming months, but did not give any indication when the transition will take place.

Leading the index were Cogeco Communications Inc., up 7.5 per cent, Parex Resources Inc., up 3.9 per cent, and BRP Inc., higher by 2.7 per cent.

Lagging shares were Nexgen Energy Ltd., down 5.0 per cent, Seven Generations Energy Ltd., down 4.9 per cent, and New Gold Inc., lower by 4.7 per cent.

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.18 cents at 75.35 U.S.


The TSX Venture Exchange inched up 4.84 points to 601.77.

Ten of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher Friday, as health-care surged 3.01%, real estate rose 1.07% and telecom issues bettered themselves 0.77%.

On the downside -- utility stocks were off 0.15% and industrial issues shed 0.03%.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,287.76 an ounce.


Stocks on Friday closed lower, but capped a week that helped to propel the Dow and S&P 500 out of corrective phases as progress on trade talks with China and the U.S. overshadowed a partial government shutdown that had entered a 21st day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down about 6 points lower, or less than 0.1%, at 23,995, the S&P 500 index edged less than a point lower to reach 2,596, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.2% to close at 6.971.

U.S. consumer prices slid 0.1% in December, dropping for the first time in nine months as gasoline prices fell, the Labor Department said. The consumer price index for all items was up 1.9% over the past 12 months.

Shares of Netflix Inc. rose 4% to $337.60 on Friday after an analyst at UBS raised his rating on the streaming giant to buy from neutral and lifted his price target to $410 from $400.

Starbucks Inc. fell 0.7% after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to "neutral," citing concerns over the pace of growth in China, where the world's biggest coffee chain has targeted a significant expansion.

Earlier Friday, a reading of December inflation, the consumer-price index slipped 0.1%, to mark the first decline in nine months, the Labor Department said on Friday. That matched the forecast of economists polled.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, was lower at around 2.697 percent, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also lower at 3.033 percent.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 1.71 percent, or $0.9, to $51.69 a barrel.

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