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TSX Forges Ahead

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Stocks in Canada’s largest market opened marginally higher on Monday, driven by gains in financial shares ...

Stocks in Canada’s largest market opened marginally higher on Monday, driven by gains in financial shares and waning fears of an escalating conflict in Syria following the weekend’s U.S.-led air strikes.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index inched up 8.03 points to open the day the week at 15,282

The Canadian dollar eked higher 0.05 cents to 79.48 cents U.S.

Among health-care issues, Aphria Inc. gained 90 cents, or 7.9%, to $12.30.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday moved to end an escalating crisis over a Kinder Morgan Canada oil pipeline, saying Ottawa was prepared to offer financial aid to ensure the project went ahead.

Kinder Morgan shares picked up 17 cents, or 1%, to $17.41.

Barclays cut the target price on Cogeco Inc. to $60.00 from $75.00. Cogeco shares tacked on 52 cents to $66.00.

On the economic front, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that home sales via Canadian MLS Systems edged up 1.3% from February to March 2018.

CREA added that, despite having improved marginally in March, national sales activity in the first quarter slid to the lowest quarterly level since the first quarter of 2014.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange advanced 3.57 points to 799.51

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, as health-care spiked 1.5%, while industrials and utilities each gained 0.4%.

The four laggards were weighed most by energy, retreating 0.8%, while gold eased 0.03%, and financials ditched 0.01%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday as the corporate earnings season continued with Bank of America reporting better-than-expected quarterly results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average skyrocketed 159.6 points to 24,519.74

The S&P 500 strengthened 14.6 points to 2,670.90, with industrials as the best-performing sector.

The NASDAQ Composite index regrouped 28.51 points to 7,135.16

Bank of America's earnings and revenue topped Wall Street estimates, which were helped by loan growth and lower corporate taxes. Shares of Bank of America rose about 1% before the bell.

The earnings season is off to a good start thus far. Last week, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup reported better-than-expected earnings. Netflix is scheduled to release its quarterly results Monday after the close.

Wall Street has high expectations for this earnings season, with analysts expecting a 17.3% increase in first-quarter earnings.

Investors also shrugged off an attack against Syria. Last week, the U.S. military conducted precision missile strikes against the Syrian government as a response to a chemical attack carried out in the country. The attack was conducted in conjunction with France and the U.K.

In economic news, U.S. retail sales rose 0.6% in March, boosted by a 2% jump in auto sales.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note skidded, raising yields to 2.85% from Friday’s 2.83%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices down 61 cents a barrel to $66.78 U.S.

Gold prices picked up $3.70 to $1,351.60 U.S. an ounce.