CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises to 18-month high ahead of Bank of Canada

(Adds details on specific stocks, updates prices)

* TSX up 40.78 points, or 0.27 percent, to 15,166.58

* Seven of the TSX’s 10 main groups move higher

TORONTO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index touched a fresh 18-month high in early trade on Wednesday as banking and materials stocks pushed higher ahead of a Bank of Canada rate decision.

Bank of Montreal, which jumped on Tuesday after reporting solid earnings, added another 1 percent to C$92.94 as several banks upped their price targets on the stock.

Several other banks were among the most influential gainers but the financials group gained only 0.3 percent as insurers weighed.

A Bank of Canada rate decision due at 10:00 a.m EDT (1500 GMT). The central bank is widely expected to hold interest rates at 0.50 percent, but investors will look to the policy statement to gauge the impact of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed policies on the Canadian economy.

At 9:45 a.m. EDT, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 40.78 points, or 0.27 percent, to 15,166.58, its highest since June 3, 2015.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups were in positive territory.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.5 percent.

Gold futures rose 0.8 percent to $1,177.1 an ounce.

One of the most influential gainers was the world’s largest gold producer, Barrick Gold Corp, which rose 2.9 percent to C$21.14. Barrick said Latin America will play an increasingly important role in its growth strategy.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc fell 4.9 percent to C$19.71.

The energy group was barely lower even as U.S. crude prices fell 1.2 percent to $50.32 a barrel and Brent lost 1 percent to $53.39. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski)