TSX edges lower as energy stocks weigh

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Thursday, weighed down by energy stocks as crude prices weakened after the International Energy Agency (IEA) cut its 2020 forecast for oil demand due to coronavirus-led travel restrictions.* IEA warned that reduced air travel due to the pandemic would lower global oil demand this year by 8.1 million barrels per day (bpd).* The energy sector dropped 0.9% as U.S. crude Brent crude prices lost about 0.5% each. [O/R]

FILE PHOTO: Monitors display the stock market numbers in the financial district as the number of novel coronavirus cases continues to grow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

* At 9:43 a.m. ET (1343 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 13.47 points, or 0.08%, at 16,561.81.

* The commodity-linked Canadian dollar advanced to its strongest level in nearly six months against the greenback on Thursday as data from the U.S. Labor Department supported optimism on global economic recovery.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.4%.[GOL/]

* On the TSX, 111 issues were higher, while 104 issues declined for a 1.07-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 22.53 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were software services provider Altus Group Ltd, which jumped 16%, and ECN Capital Corp, which rose 11.8%, after the companies reported their quarterly results.

* Great Canadian Gaming Corp fell 3.6%, the most on the TSX, after posting a quarterly loss of 57 Canadian cents per share.

* The second biggest decliner was Brookfield Asset Management Inc, down 2.1%, after it reported a loss of 43 cents per share in the quarter.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Manulife Financial Corp, Enbridge Inc and StageZero Life Sciences.

* The TSX posted one new 52-week high and no new low.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 10 new 52-week highs and no new low, with total volume of 41.63 million shares.

Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel