June 20(Reuters) - Mining stocks drove Canada’s main stock index to a seven-week high on Thursday as gold prices surged following a more dovish than expected stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
* At 9:40 a.m. ET (13:40 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 70.9 points, or 0.43%, at 16,582.69.
* The index was set to rise for the sixth consecutive session.
* Meanwhile, the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index hit a record intraday high as investors took comfort from signs that the Fed could cut interest rates as soon as next month to counter growing risks to global and domestic growth.
* Seven of the TSX’s 11 major sectors were higher, led by the materials sector which added 2.2%.
* The sector, which includes precious and base metals miners, was helped by gold prices, which hit a more than five-year high. Silver prices also rose more than 1.5%.
* The energy sector also climbed 1.6% tracking a surge in oil prices as Iran shot down a U.S. military drone, raising fears of a military confrontation between the two countries.
* U.S. crude prices were up 4.5% a barrel, while Brent crude added 3.4%.
* The interest-rate sensitive financials sector slipped 0.1%.
* On the TSX, 167 issues were higher, while 67 issues declined for a 2.49-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 28.78 million shares traded.
* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Iamgold Corp, which jumped 10.0% and Yamana Gold Inc, which rose 7.8%.
* Hudson’s Bay Co fell 1.7%, the most on the TSX. The second biggest decliner was Nexgen Energy Ltd, down 1.0%.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Prometic Life Sciences Inc, Fortuna Silver Mines Inc and Yamana Gold.
* The TSX posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new low.
* Across all Canadian issues there were 81 new 52-week highs and six new lows, with total volume of 58.45 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)