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CANADA STOCKS-Canadian stocks rise as more countries ease lockdowns

(Adds details, updates prices)

May 26 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose in early trade on Tuesday as the continued easing of coronavirus-driven lockdowns and strong gains on Wall Street helped restore investor confidence in equities.

* At 9:44 a.m. ET (1344 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 100.6 points, or 0.67%, at 15,176.02.

* Easing of curbs on travel and social activity in parts of Europe and Britain brewed optimism over an eventual economic recovery, while Wall Street’s S&P 500 breaching a major technical barrier also helped.

* Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on Monday said the policy framework is flexible enough to allow the inflation rate to climb back up to the bank’s 2% target more slowly than on average, implying that looser monetary policy was on the cards for the near-term.

* The energy sector climbed 2.3% as crude prices gained on a perceived increase in demand.

* The financials sector gained 2.1%. The industrials sector rose 0.7%.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.7%.

* On the TSX, 178 issues were higher, while 49 issues declined for a 3.63-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 12.40 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund, up 6.6%, and Enerplus Corp , which rose 4.8%.

* Hexo Corp fell 6.4%, the most on the TSX, while the second-biggest decliner was Barrick Gold, down 3.9%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Hexo Corp , Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, and Coro Mining Corp.

* The TSX posted four new 52-week highs and no new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 10 new 52-week highs and four new lows, with total volume of 24.08 million shares. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Maju Samuel)

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