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TSX Stays Green by Noon

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Canada's main stock index kept its hold on gains by midday Tuesday as energy stocks gained after crude ...

Canada's main stock index kept its hold on gains by midday Tuesday as energy stocks gained after crude prices shot up and Chinese President Xi Jinping's promise to cut import tariffs diffused escalating trade war worries.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index was positive 43.58 – off its highs of the morning -- to approach noon at 15,271.28

The Canadian dollar vaulted 0.58 cents at 79.29 cents U.S.

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 46 cents, or 2.9%, to $16.58.

Among materials stocks, Teck Resources captured 86 cents, or 2.6%, to $34.08.

Consumer staples issues faded as Restaurant Brands International dropped 11 cents to $71.13, while Loblaw Companies trailed Monday’s finish by 79 cents, or 1.2%, to $64.68.

As well, RBC cut the target price on Cogeco Communications to $86 from $89. Cogeco shares slid by noon hour by $2.31, or 3.2%, to $69.87.

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 regained 1.91 points to 767.37

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly split between gainers and losers, energy leading the former category with gains of 2.2%, while materials strengthened 0.6%, and gold shone brighter 0.2%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by consumer staples, down 1.1%, while telecoms and utilities each shed 0.6%.

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 411.84 points, or 1.7%, to 24,390.44, with DowDuPont as the best-performing stock on the index.

The S&P 500 jumped 38.75 points, or 1.5%, to 2,651.51, with energy leading 10 of 11 sectors higher.

The NASDAQ Composite index hiked 104.96 points, or 1.5%, to 7,055.30

Boeing rose 3.5% 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 2.4%, while General Motors hiked 2.1%, and Tesla gained nearly 4.4%. Fiat Chrysler also climbed 2.6%.

Elsewhere, social media and technology stocks will remain at the forefront of market talk, as the data scandal around Facebook continues to unfold. On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg is expected to appear in front of a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. Facebook shares rose 1.6% ahead of the testimony

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 $1.84 a barrel to $65.26 U.S.

Gold prices climbed $2.10 to $1,342.20 U.S. an ounce.