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Stocks Move out of Negative Territory

Stocks in Canada's largest market gained ground on Thursday, with tech stocks leading gains, as a clutch of positive headlines on trade lifted sentiment with high-level trade negotiations between United States and China starting in Washington.

The TSX Composite Index pulled out of the dungeon and advanced 43.53 points to greet noon hour ET Thursday at 16,423.40

The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.31 to 75.26 cents U.S.

Hexo Corp plummeted $1.16, or 23.8%, to $3.72, as the cannabis producer withdrew its 2020 forecast, blaming an uncertain environment and slow store rollouts.

That pushed the health-care sector down, along with other pot companies including Aphria, down 66 cents, or 9.2%, to $6.50, Aurora Cannabis, off 29 cents, or 5.3%, to $5.18, and Canopy Growth down $2.54, or 8.3%, to $27.91.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were TFI International, which jumped $1.33, or 3.5%, to $39.65, and Teck Resources, which rose $1.16, or 5.9%, to $20.94.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada's new housing price gained 0.1% in August, the first increase since July 2018.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 5.17 points to 545.43

The 12 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided by noon Thursday, with information technology soaring 1%, while industrials and financials each climbing 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most heavily by health-care, sinking 4.2%, gold, down 1.1%, and consumer staples, off 0.6%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose to their session highs on Thursday after President Donald Trump said he will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, raising hope the two countries could make progress on the trade front.

The Dow Jones Industrials soared 221.25 points to 26,567.26.

The S&P 500 improved 26.26 points to 2,945.66

The NASDAQ Composite spiked 71.34 points to 7,975.08

Trade bellwether Caterpillar was the best-performing stock in the Dow, rising 2.7%. Apple shares climbed more than 1%. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase advanced more than 2% each.

In a tweet, Trump said: "Big day of negotiations with China. They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House."

The tweet adds to confused reports as to the status of trade negotiations with Beijing. One report added that higher-level talks with Liu would now be only one day, with the China delegation planning to leave Washington on Thursday instead of Friday as scheduled. The issue of forced technology transfers, which China refused to put on the table, was the reason talks were at a standstill.

The New York Times also reported that the Trump administration is ready to grant licenses for some U.S. companies to sell non-sensitive supplies to Huawei. Earlier this year, the White House had banned sales to the Chinese tech giant, citing national security concerns. The administration subsequently delayed the ban to allow U.S. businesses to make other arrangements.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell hard, raising yields to 1.66% from Wednesday's 1.58%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices enjoyed gains of 61 cents to $53.20 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices subtracted $13.30 to $1,499.500 U.S. an ounce.

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