CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as healthcare offsets materials’ gains

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(Updates)

July 12 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index treaded water on Friday, as losses in healthcare stocks led by cannabis producer CannTrust were offset by gains in the materials sector.

* CannTrust Holdings Inc tumbled 8.7%, the most on the TSX, after the company suspended sales of cannabis products. Earlier this week, the firm said Canada’s health regulator found that it produced marijuana in unlicensed facilities.

* The company’s losses were closely followed by fellow cannabis producer Canopy Growth Co, down 4.5%.

* Healthcare stocks slid 2.44%, the most among the six major sectors.

* At 9:53 a.m. ET (1353 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 12.89 points, or 0.08%, at 16,515.01.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, rose 0.1%, as gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,410.1 an ounce.

* Gold prices climbed as investors shrugged off concerns that stronger-than-expected consumer inflation in the United States could influence the U.S. central bank’s decision on aggressive monetary policy easing.

* The Canadian dollar strengthened to a near nine-month high against its U.S. counterpart on Friday, adding to its gains since mid-week, when the Bank of Canada made clear it had no intention of easing monetary policy.

* The signal from Canada’s central bank that interest rates are on hold has contrasted with dovish guidance from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

* On the TSX, 112 issues were higher, while 116 issues declined for a 1.04-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 17.57 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Aritzia Inc , which jumped 7.0% after reporting first-quarter results.

* Alaris Royalty followed closely behind with a 3.9% rise after brokerage CIBC upgraded the company’s shares to “outperform” from “neutral”.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were CannTrust, Aurora Cannabis and Nemaska Lithium.

* The TSX posted four new 52-week highs and one new low.

* Across all Canadian issues, there were eight new 52-week highs and six new lows, with total volume of 28.03 million shares. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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