CANADA STOCKS-TSX creeps up after Trump signals possible tariff exemption

TORONTO, March 5 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index turned slightly positive on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to suggest that Canada and Mexico could win exemptions to his planned sweeping tariffs on aluminum and steel imports if the two countries sign a new NAFTA trade deal.

* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was eight points, or 0.05 percent, higher at 15,399.83, after opening down 0.3 percent.

* Trump tweeted on Monday that Canada and Mexico could be exempt from the tariffs if a “new & fair” NAFTA agreement is signed. Representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico are meeting in Mexico City on Monday to wrap up the latest round of discussions on the trade agreement. Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

* Five of the 10 sectors on the index were in positive territory.

* The biggest gainer on the index was Crew Energy, rising 7.05 percent, after reporting increases in its fourth quarter adjusted funds flow and production.

* Prometic Life Sciences, up 6.5 percent, was the second-biggest gainer after winning rare pediatric disease and orphan drug designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its Inter-Alpha-Inhibitor-Proteins for the treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis.

* The healthcare group was the biggest gainer, with a 4.2 percent jump.

* Baytex Energy and Advantage Oil & Gas were also among the 10 biggest gainers, rising 3.7 percent and 3.1 percent respectively.

* U.S. crude futures gained 0.2 percent to $61.43 a barrel.

* Home Capital Group was the biggest decliner with a 3.7 percent loss, followed by WestJet Airlines, which slipped 2.8 percent.

* Consumer cyclicals and industries, both down 0.36 percent, were the groups with the biggest drop.

* Bombardier and Canopy Growth were the most active stocks by volume on the index.

* The TSX had 149 advancing issues, 96 declining ones. Five were flat. (Reporting by Fergal Smith Editing by Susan Thomas)