(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Wednesday as shares of precious metal miners were boosted by higher gold prices, but concerns about rising coronavirus cases around the world capped gains.
* The U.S. coronavirus outbreak crossed a grim milestone of over 3 million confirmed cases on Tuesday as more states reported record numbers of new infections, and Florida faced an impending shortage of intensive care unit hospital beds.
* That sparked strong demand for gold, which breached $1,800 an ounce on Wednesday for the first time since 2011.
* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, rose 2.2%, the most among the major Canadian sectors trading higher.
* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Pan American Silver Corp, which jumped 6.8%, and MAG Silver Corp, which rose 6.3%.
* At 9:45 a.m. ET (13:45 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 73.44 points, or 0.47%, at 15,668.94.
* Also helping the index, the energy sector climbed 0.9% as U.S. crude and Brent crude prices gained about 0.2% each.
* On the TSX, 145 issues were higher, while 68 issues declined for a 2.13-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 16.01 million shares traded.
* Bausch Health Companies Inc BHC.TO fell 2.1%, the most on the TSX, while the second biggest decliner was telecom provider Rogers Communications Inc, down 1.9%.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Kinross Gold Corp, B2Gold Corp and Iamgold Corp.
* The TSX posted 15 new 52-week highs and no new low.
* Across all Canadian issues there were 49 new 52-week highs and three new lows, with total volume of 36.27 million shares.
Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel
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