TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index advanced on Thursday, with all sectors but one in positive territory, on receding fears of a trade war with the United States after President Donald Trump promised flexibility in dealing with the country’s “real friends.”
* A White House official said on Wednesday night that Trump planned to offer Canada and Mexico - fellow signatories of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - the possibility of a 30-day exemption from the tariffs.
* In a tweet on Thursday, Trump said he would show “great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military.”
* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index opened up 39.52 points, or 0.26 percent, at 15,511.08. It was trading 0.4 percent higher at 15,535.71 at 9:58 am (1458 GMT).
* Shares of trade-sensitive auto parts and railroad companies recovered. Magna International Inc advanced 0.5 percent to C$67.96 and Canadian National Railway Co was up 0.3 percent at C$94.35.
* Machine manufacturer Linamar Corp and Packing tape-maker Intertape Polymar Group were the biggest gainers on the index, rising 7.6 and 7.2 respectively, after reporting fourth-quarter profits that beat expectations.
* The healthcare group was the sector with the most gains, rising 1.4 percent.
* Cominar REIT was the biggest decliner on the index, falling 5.5 percent after reporting a drop in its quarterly operating revenue.
* Mining companies Ivanhoe Mines, Franco-Nevada Corp and Paramount Resources were also among the biggest decliners, hit by a retreat in metal prices.
* Copper futures pulled back 1.6 percent to $6,836.50 a tonne, while gold futures slipped 0.2 percent to $1,324.2 an ounce.
* The TSX materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.5 percent.
* U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.75 percent to $60.69 a barrel.
* Cominar was the most actively traded stock on the index, followed by marijuana producers Canopy Growth and Aphria Inc.
* There were 168 advancing issues and 73 declining ones. Nine were flat. (Reporting by Nichola Saminather Editing by Frances Kerry)