March 29, 2018 / 2:20 PM / 9 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-Energy, material stocks push TSX higher

March 29 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Thursday, boosted by strong gains in the energy and material sectors.

* Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources and Enbridge were among the top four boosts to the index, rising between 0.8 and 1.6 percent.

* Prices of Brent crude oil and of spot gold were flat, recovering from dips earlier in the session.

* Nine of the eleven sector groups were in positive territory.

* A report showed economic growth data unexpectedly slowed in January in a clear sign that first-quarter growth is likely to be weaker than the Bank of Canada had predicted.

* Canada’s growth dwindled 0.1 percent last month, while analysts were expecting a rise of 0.1 percent after a revised 0.2 percent gain in December.

* “This reinforces the point that there is little urgency to hike rates again,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Financial Group.

* At 9:41 a.m. ET (1341 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 104.33 points, or 0.69 percent, to 15,274.27.

* Still, the index is on track for its biggest quarterly drop in more than two years.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Methanex , which rose 3.8 percent, while the largest decliner was Prometic Life Sciences, down 26.6 percent.

* Among the most active stocks by volume were Neovasc Inc , Prometic Life Sciences and Aurora Cannabis .

* The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and three new lows. Across all Canadian issues there were four new 52-week highs and nine new lows.

* Volume on the TSX index was 14.19 million shares, while the total volume on Thursday was 24.23 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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