October 16, 2018 / 2:33 PM / a month ago

CANADA STOCKS-Main index gains driven by financial stocks on rate hike hopes

Oct 16 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Tuesday, led by shares in the financial sector on expectations of another interest rate hike next week, after a central bank report showed business optimism at near record levels.

* At 9:36 a.m. ET (13:36 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 32.78 points, or 0.21 percent, at 15,442.25.

* The financials sector rose 0.2 percent, as TMX Group led the group with its 1.12 percent gain, followed by a 0.9 percent rise in ECN Capital Corp.

* The Bank of Canada said on Monday, in its quarterly survey of businesses, that companies reported rising pressure on capacity, labour and prices amid signs of stronger sales.

* The central bank has raised rates four times since July 2017 and most market players expect another hike on Oct. 24. Governor Stephen Poloz said in late Sept. that he did not want to let inflation momentum build.

* The Canadian dollar strengthened to nearly a one-week high against the greenback, also boosted by growing expectations of a Bank of Canada rate hike.

* The energy sector, however, dropped 0.2 percent as crude prices fell on higher U.S. oil production and increasing inventories.

* U.S. crude and Brent crude were down 0.6 percent, each.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners, fell 0.1 percent, reversing course from earlier gains at the opening bell.

* On the TSX, 155 issues were higher, while 84 issues declined for a 1.85-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 16.50 million shares traded.

* Top percentage gainer on the TSX was Gibson Energy , which jumped 6.2 percent after the oilfield service provider announced the sanction of one million barrels of new tankage at the Hardisty Terminal.

* Turquoise Hill Resources fell 8 percent, the most on the TSX, after the gold miner announced third quarter gold production update.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Hexo Corp and Aphria Inc.

* The TSX posted three new 52-week highs and five new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 11 new 52-week highs and nine new lows, with total volume touching 26.66 million shares. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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