March 23, 2018 / 2:39 PM / 6 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher as gold prices rise

March 23 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday, led by the materials sector as gold prices surged to a one-month high, a day after the index posted its worst day since September 2016 on fears of a global trade war.

Fears of retaliatory trade tariffs sent investors scrambling for safe assets such as gold, lifting stocks of miners Barrick Gold Corp and Goldcorp by more than 2 percent.

The financial sector was down nearly 10 points after data showed inflation jumped to a three-year high in February, raising the prospect of an interest rate hike.

The Bank of Canada has a 2.0 percent target for inflation, and has raised interest rates three times since July 2017, with markets expecting another hike by this July.

“It’s (inflation) slightly above 2 percent, and we haven’t seen much of that in recent years. It’s not like inflation is at a worrisome level, but it also can’t be used as a reason for outright caution by the Bank of Canada,” said Doug Porter, chief economist, BMO Capital Markets

At 10:10 a.m. ET (1410 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 12.04 points, or 0.08 percent, to 15,411.97.

The TSX posted two new 52-week highs and five new lows. Across all Canadian issues there were four new 52-week highs and 21 new lows.

The top percentage gainer on the TSX was Canopy Growth Co , which rose 6.2 percent, while the largest decliner was Ivanhoe Mines, down 2.7 percent.

Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Aurora Cannabis, up 5.6 percent to $10.17; Canopy Growth Co , up 6.2 percent to $33.65.

Volume on the TSX index was 42.73 million shares, while the total volume on Friday was 62.40 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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