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Stocks Gain Moderately as Trade Tension Eases

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Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday, led by the energy and materials sectors as reduced fears ...

Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday, led by the energy and materials sectors as reduced fears of a global trade war boosted oil prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index was positive 34.44 to end Tuesday at 15,262.14

The Canadian dollar vaulted 0.61 cents at 79.31 cents U.S.

Health-care stocks enjoyed most of the gains among sub-sectors, as Canopy Growth Corporation soared $1.77, or 6.9%, to $27.51, and
Aphria took on 19 cents, or nearly 2%, to $9.89.

The federal government on Monday said it was considering all its options on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, including a possible investment of public funds to ensure construction goes ahead, after Kinder Morgan Canada halted most work on the project and set a May 31 deadline to scrap the plan.

Meantime, CIBC cut the rating on the company’s stock to neutral from outperform. Kinder Morgan shares gained 59 cents, or 3.7%, to $16.71. Elsewhere in the energy sector, Imperial Oil gained 21 cents to $35.80.

Among materials stocks, Teck Resources captured $1.32, or 4%, to $34.54, while First Quantum Minerals tacked on 96 cents, or 5.6%, to $18.05.

Consumer staples issues faded as Restaurant Brands International dropped 43 cents to $70.81, while Loblaw Companies trailed Monday’s finish by $1.27, or 1.9%, to $64.20.

As well, RBC cut the target price on Cogeco Communications to $86 from $89. Cogeco shares slid by the close $2.43, or 3.4%, to $69.75.

Xi said China will sharply widen market access for foreign investors, a chief complaint of the country's trading partners and a point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, which has threatened billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods.

On the economic front, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's seasonally-adjusted annual rate of starts declined to 225,213 in March from February’s upwardly revised 231,026. Economists had forecast starts would decline to 218,000 homes.

Statistics Canada also reported Canadian municipalities issued $8.2 billion in building permits in February, a loss of 2.6%, following a 5.2% gain in January. The agency went on to say that single-family homes as well as the commercial and institutional components saw lower levels of construction intentions in February.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange leaped 10.68 points, or 1.4%, to 776.14

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower by day’s end, as consumer staples gave up 1.3%, utilities faded 0.7%, and telecoms were off 0.5%.

The five gainers were led by health-care, better by 2.6%, energy, up 2.4%, and materials, up 0.9%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rallied on Tuesday as Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief after China's president said he would work to "open" the country's economy, easing trade war fears.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average galloped 428.90 points, or 1.8%, to 24,408, with Boeing as the best-performing stock in the index.

The S&P 500 added 43.71 points, or 1.7%, to 2,656.87, with energy leading nine of 11 sectors higher.

The NASDAQ Composite index hiked 143.96 points, or 2.1%, to 7,094.30

Boeing and Caterpillar both rose more than 3% as concerns of a trade war were alleviated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed plans Tuesday to further open up the country's economy, with measures including lowering import tariffs on autos, enforcing legal intellectual property of foreign groups and reducing duties on other consumer products.

Shares of U.S. automakers jumped on the news. Ford Motor rose 1.8%, while General Motors hiked 3.3%, and Tesla gained 5.2%. Fiat Chrysler also climbed 2%.

Elsewhere, shares of Facebook rose more than 4% as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress following news that Cambridge Analytica was able to access the private data of millions of users without their consent.

Zuckerberg said the company did not notify the Federal Trade Commission about the leak, noting: "We considered it a closed case."

The FBI raided the New York office and residence of Michael Cohen, the personal attorney to President Donald Trump. According to media outlets, agents were looking for evidence that was related to a $130,000 payment the lawyer made to porn star Stormy Daniels, prior to the 2016 election.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note sagged, raising yields to 2.80% from Monday’s 2.78%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $2.14 a barrel to $65.56 U.S.

Gold prices climbed $2.60 to $1,342.70 U.S. an ounce.