Energy shares drive TSX to seven-month highs

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose for the fifth straight session on Friday as energy stocks gained and a rebound in U.S. jobs growth in March eased slowdown concerns in the world’s largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: Businessmen pass the Toronto Stock Exchange sing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

* At 9:40 a.m. ET (13:40 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 24.34 points, or 0.15 percent, at 16,335.95.

* The index was at its highest since August 31 and was on course for its best weekly gain since mid-January.

* Domestic data showed Canadian economy unexpectedly shed 7,200 jobs in March, its first decline in seven months, reinforcing market expectations that the Bank of Canada will keep interest rates unchanged next month.

* World stocks gained after data showed U.S. employment growth accelerated from a 17-month low in March, allaying fears of an abrupt slowdown in economic activity in the first quarter.

* The energy sector climbed 0.9 percent, the most among 11 major sectors, as U.S. crude price rose 0.6 percent a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.2 percent.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.3 percent.

* Mining stocks took a hit from gold futures shedding 0.4 percent to $1,283.6 an ounce, as investors moved to riskier assets after the U.S. data.

* The financials sector gained 0.1 percent. The industrials sector rose 0.3 percent.

* On the TSX, 143 issues were higher, while 86 issues declined for a 1.66-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 11.57 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Kelt Exploration Ltd, which jumped 3 percent and Aurora Cannabis, which rose 3.0 percent after the company was awarded maximum number of lots in cannabis production tender in Germany.

* Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd fell 2.5 percent, the most on the TSX. The second biggest decliner was Fortuna Silver Mines Inc, down 2.2 percent.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Prometic Life Sciences Inc and Stornoway Diamond Corp.

* The TSX posted eight new 52-week highs and no new low.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 39 new 52-week highs and three new lows, with total volume of 20.06 million shares.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur