Canadian Shares Edging Higher After Weak Start

The Canadian market opened lower Wednesday morning on weak global cues, but recovered well as the session progressed and was firmly place in positive territory a little past noon, led by gains in information technology, telecommunications and healthcare sections.

Energy stocks were weak on lower crude oil prices. Materials and consumer discretionary shares were turning in a mixed performance.

Investors were also digesting the Bank of Canada's rate decision and economic outlook.

The Bank of Canada left its key rate unchanged and downgraded its growth forecast for next two years amid worsening global economic conditions.

The BoC kept its key rate unchanged at 1.75%, as expected.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to announce its rate decision at 2 PM ET.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 57.59 points, or 0.35%, at 16,475.73, recovering from an early low of 16,373.54.

Bank of Canada said that economic growth is likely to slow in the second half of this year, reflecting trade uncertainty, continuing adjustment in the energy sector, and the unwinding of temporary factors that boosted growth in the second quarter.

"In considering the appropriate path for monetary policy, the Bank will be monitoring the extent to which the global slowdown spreads beyond manufacturing and investment," according to the accompanying statement.

The Bank said it expects the real GDP to grow by 1.5 percent for this year, up from previous outlook of 1.5 percent.

For 2020 and 2021, the real GDP is seen at 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent, compared to earlier projections of 2 percent in both years.

Among the prominent gainers in the market, Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) gained about 4.5%, rebounding from recent sharp losses. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) rallied 2%.

Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) gained 1.5%, Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) advanced 2.3% and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) moved up 1.75%.

First National Financial Corporation (FN.TO) soared 8.75%. Pattern Energy (PEGI.TO), Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO), Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Thomson Reuters (TRI.TO) and Cogeco Communications (CCA.TO) and Constellation Software (CSU.TO) were up 1.5 - 2.6%.

Maple Leaf Foods (MFI.TO) shares tumbled more than 10% after the company reported a near 50% drop in third quarter net earnings.

Baytex Energy (BTE.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) and ARC Resources (ARX.TO) shed 1.5 to 3%.

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