Sept 24 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday as energy shares were boosted by a surge in crude prices after Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out any immediate increase to oil production.
* The energy sector was 2 percent higher as U.S. crude rose 2 percent and Brent crude added 2.4 percent.
* Barrick Gold, up 6.7 percent, was the top boost to materials stocks after the company agreed to buy Randgold Resources in an $18.3 billion share deal to create the world’s largest gold company by value.
* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.2 percent.
* Gold prices were steady partly due to a dip in the dollar, but activity was muted as investors awaited a U.S. central bank meeting this week that is expected to result in an interest rate increase.
* At 9:50 a.m. ET (1350 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 29.72 points, or 0.18 percent, at 16,253.85.
* Still, seven of the index’s 11 major sectors were lower. The consumer discretionary sector’s 1.4 percent drop was the steepest.
* Data showed Canadian wholesale trade rose 1.5 percent in July from June as sales climbed in four of seven sub-sectors, including a 4.2 percent gain for personal and household goods.
* On the NAFTA front, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said U.S. and Canadian officials were “very likely” to hold informal talks on the sidelines of a major United Nations meeting in the next few days.
* On the TSX, 130 issues were higher, while 111 issues declined for a 1.17-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 42.81 million shares traded.
* The top percentage gainers on the TSX were Barrick Gold and Gran Tierra Energy, which rose 7 percent.
* New Gold fell 3.1 percent, the most on the TSX, followed by The Stars Group, which dipped 2.6 percent.
* Among the most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis and Nemaska Lithium.
* The TSX posted one new 52-week high and two new lows.
* Across all Canadian issues there were 11 new 52-week highs and 13 new lows, with a total volume of 62.81 million shares. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)