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TSX stays afloat

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Stocks in Canada’s largest market tenaciously held onto gains by Wednesday’s closing bell, as health-care ...

Stocks in Canada’s largest market tenaciously held onto gains by Wednesday’s closing bell, as health-care gains more than offset declines in consumer discretionary issues.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index stayed afloat 28.78 points to end Wednesday at 16,315.08

The Canadian dollar added 0.24 at 76.8 cents U.S.

Health-care stocks ruled the day, as Bausch Health Companies gained 34 cents, or 1.1%, to $30.95. Canopy Growth rocketed $1.46, or 4.3%, to $35.72.

Tech stocks shone as well, as BlackBerry grew 56 cents, or 4.4%, to $13.42, while Shopify took on a dollar to $185.93.

The gains in financials were led by a rise of $1.65, or 3.1%, in shares of Thomson Reuters, to $55.18, which reported a 2% rise in quarterly revenue. Royal Bank gained 76 cents to $101.27.

Magna International fell $6.02, or 7.8%, to $70.86, among the top laggards on the TSX after lowering its full-year production forecast for North America.

Among energy concerns, Imperial Oil dropped 29 cents to $42.43, while Canadian Natural Resources faded 52 cents, or 1.1%, to $45.00.

Utilities dragged their heels, as Hydro One dipped 10 cents to $19.01, while Fortis Inc. was unchanged at $42.75.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits, down 2.3% from the previous month.

The agency attributes the decline to lower construction intentions for residential buildings, following a strong May.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 2.04 points to close Wednesday to 698.82

All but three of the 12 subgroups were higher on the day, led by 1.7% gains in health-care, while information technology stocks vaulted 1.1%, and financials were up 0.7%.

The three laggards proved to be consumer discretionary stocks, down 1.4%, energy, off 0.8%, and utilities, down 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The NASDAQ Composite closed marginally higher on Wednesday, notching its longest winning streak since March, as shares of Facebook and Amazon rose.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained negative 45.16 points to 25,583.75, with Disney as the biggest laggard.

The S&P 500 skidded 0.75 points to 2,857.70, as consumer staples underperformed.

The NASDAQ recovered 4.66 points to 7,888.33, but posted its seventh consecutive gain. That is the NASDAQ's first seven-day winning streak since the one that ended on March 12.

Facebook rose 0.8%, and Amazon leaped 1.3%. Google-parent Alphabet also rose 0.4%.

The S&P 500 closed Wednesday's session just 0.5% from a record high. If the index breaks above 2,872.87, it would notch its first all-time high since Jan. 26. The NASDAQ was also less than 1% away from a record while the Dow remained 3.9% below its all-time high through Tuesday's close.

Amazon and Apple are among the companies that have reported better-than-expected earnings. CVS Health also posted better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday, sending its shares up by 4.2%

There have been some notable disappointments this season, however. Facebook shares lost about a fifth of their value after releasing its quarterly figures. Most recently, Disney shares dropped more than 1% after the media giant posted weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue.

Wall Street is nearing end of the latest corporate earnings season. Nearly 90% of S&P 500 companies have released their calendar second-quarter. Of those companies, 76.4% have reported better-than-forecast quarterly profits.

If the earnings season ends with at least 80% of companies beating estimates, it would mark the first time that has happened since the data was first tracked in 2008.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced a 25% charge on $16 billion worth of U.S. goods. The goods being targeted by China include vehicles such as large passenger cars and motorcycles. Various fuels are on the list, as well as fiber optical cables.

China's announcement comes after the U.S. Trade Representative's office released a finalized list of $16 billion worth in Chinese goods that will be hit with tariffs. The U.S. charges will take effect on Aug. 23. The latest U.S. list brings the total worth of Chinese goods facing a 25% tariff to $50 billion.

Shares of big exporter Caterpillar fell 1.9% and Boeing dropped 0.9%.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 2.97% from Tuesday’s 2.98%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices surrendered $2.35 to $66.82 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices strengthened $3.10 to $1,221.40 U.S. an ounce.