April 5, 2018 / 3:58 PM / 4 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX extends gains on Bank of Montreal's optimism over NAFTA talks

(Updates prices)

April 5 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose more than 1 percent on Thursday, led by a surge in energy stocks and rising confidence that NAFTA talks will result in a positive outcome.

* At 11:22 a.m. ET (1522 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 193.18 points, or 1.27 percent, to 15,357.55.

* TSX just shy of erasing its weekly losses so far.

* Darryl White, Bank of Montreal’s chief executive, says he is confident that talks to revamp NAFTA will lead to “positive conclusion.”

* Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday that the three countries had made good progress in the talks but there was still work to be done.

* Wall Street extended its recovery as trade war fears ebbed and shares of Facebook, Amazon and industrial companies rallied.

* Suncor Energy gained 5.5 percent and Canadian Natural Resources advanced 4.4 percent, boosting the energy sector by 4.5 percent.

* The financial sector was up 0.9 percent lifted by the heavy weight banks Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia, all up about a percent.

* Spot gold slipped 0.6 percent at $1,324.68 an ounce at 1542 GMT as demand for the safe haven asset eased.

* Oil prices rose modestly. Brent crude futures were up 30 cents to $68.32 a barrel.

* Canada’s trade deficit unexpectedly rose to C$2.69 billion ($2.10 billion) in February from C$1.94 billion in January as imports grew much faster than exports. Analysts were expecting a C$2.00 billion shortfall.

* TSX closed at over seven-week low on Wednesday over trade war worries.

* Nine of 10 main index groups were in the positive territory.

* The TSX posted 6 new 52-week highs and one new low. Across all Canadian issues there were 13 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Corus Entertainment, which rose 19.9 percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profit, while the largest decliner was Aliment Td B, down 2.1 percent.

* Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth Co, and Cenovus Energy.

* Volume on the TSX index was 85.43 million, while the total volume on Thursday was 126.50 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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