(Reuters) - Optimism about reaching a new NAFTA deal by the end of this week lifted Canada’s main index on Thursday and energy companies provided a boost as oil prices rose.
** Talks between Canada and the United States are intensifying as they push to hammer out a deal on a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement by a Friday deadline, with both sides upbeat about progress made so far.
** The energy sector climbed 0.2 percent as U.S. crude prices were up 0.3 percent a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.5 percent. [O/R]
** GDP data showed the Canadian economy grew at a more sluggish pace than market expectations in June and during the second quarter.
** At 10:05 a.m. ET (14:05 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 29.71 points, or 0.18 percent, at 16,420.
** The material sector fell 0.7 percent and was the only one of the index’s 11 major sectors that was lower.
** Gold futures fell 0.7 percent to $1,196.4 an ounce, while copper prices declined 1.1 percent to $6,019.5 a tonne. [GOL/] [MET/L]
** Shares of mining companies were the biggest drags. First Quantum Minerals, Teck Resources and Agnico Eagle Mines fell between 1.3 percent and 4 percent.
** On the TSX, 140 issues were higher, while 90 issues declined for a 1.56-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 24.89 million shares traded.
** Toronto-Dominion Bank reported third-quarter profit which topped expectations, but its shares dipped 0.2 percent after analysts said its performance was less impressive than rival Canadian lenders.
** The biggest percentage gainer on the TSX was BRP Inc, which jumped 7.5 percent, after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results.
** Westjet Airline, up 2.9 percent, was also among the largest gainers on the main index.
** Canadian Western Bank fell 5.6 percent, the most on the TSX, after the company reported third-quarter results.
** The second biggest decliner was First Quantum Minerals down 4.2 percent.
** The most heavily traded shares were marijuana companies Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc and Canopy Growth.
** The TSX posted three new 52-week highs and seven new lows.
** Across all Canadian issues there were 20 new 52-week highs and 17 new lows, with total volume of 39.68 million shares.
Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta
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