April 17, 2020 / 2:36 PM / in a month

CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs on U.S. plans to reopen economy

April 17 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday, on track to add gains for four straight weeks on Washington’s plan to gradually reopen the country’s economy, while reports of a potential drug to treat COVID-19 added to the bounce.

* At 9:57 a.m. ET (1357 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 323.26 points, or 2.33%, at 14,222.58.

* U.S. President Donald Trump outlined a plan to ease the U.S. shutdown in a staggered, three-stage process, also helped lift the mood.

* Reports say that patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms had responded positively to a drug made by U.S. company Gilead Sciences.

* The news helped investors brush off a widely expected slump in Chinese GDP data.

* Ten of the index’s 11 major sectors were higher, with only the materials sector losing 1.2%.

* Prices of gold slipped on Friday, pressured by the pickup in stock markets globally.

* Oil prices remained mixed with U.S. crude off 8.9% a barrel and Brent adding 1.6% but energy sector climbed 4.3%.

* Canadian equities have somewhat reclaimed lost ground on central bank and government stimulus, but have fallen over 21% since hitting an all-time high in mid-February.

* The financials sector gained 3.5%. The industrials sector rose 2.1%.

* On the TSX, 198 issues were higher, while 30 issues declined for a 6.60-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 48.64 million shares traded.

* The Stars Group jumped 15.5% to the top of TSX, after the betting firm forecast upbeat first-quarter revenue as it saw increased customer activity across online poker and casino product offerings largely beginning in March.

* Gold miners led losses on the TSX with shares in Alacer Gold Corp off 6.9% and Alamos Gold, down 4.9%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were those of Bombardier and Crescent Point.

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

* Across all Canadian issues there were six new 52-week highs and two new lows, with total volume of 78.52 million shares. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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