May 3, 2018 / 2:49 PM / 23 days ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as materials offset energy losses

May 3 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Thursday as gains in material and financial stocks were offset by losses in energy shares, which tracked lower oil prices.

* At 9:51 a.m. ET (1351 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 5.47 points, or 0.04 percent, to 15,633.4.

* Oil prices slipped as swelling U.S. crude inventories and record weekly U.S. production clashed with OPEC supply cuts and the potential for new U.S. sanctions against Iran.

* The energy group, which was the biggest drag on the TSX, was down 0.9 percent.

* Weighing on the energy sector was shares of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, which fell 1.5 percent after Canada’s largest independent petroleum producer reported quarterly results.

* Also hurting market sentiment was domestic data, which showed Canada’s trade deficit in goods jumped to a record high in March on a surge in imports.

* The materials sector, up 0.9 percent, gained on the back of gold prices, which rose after the U.S. central bank reassured investors that increases to interest rates would be gradual.

* Shares of Manulife Financial Corp gained 3.2 percent after Canada’s largest insurer reported an 18.3 percent jump in first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, boosting the heavyweight financial sector.

* Seven of the 10 main index sectors were higher.

* On the earnings front, Crescent Point Energy Corp fell 4.8 percent after the oil and gas producer reported a first-quarter loss as it sold Canadian crude at a bigger discount.

* SNC-Lavalin Group Inc reported a 13 percent fall in quarterly profit, hurt by higher costs, sending shares of the construction and engineering firm down 3.9 percent.

* Telecommunications company BCE Inc’s <BCE.TO first-quarter profit narrowly missed analysts’ estimates.

* The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and one new low. Across all Canadian issues there were two new 52-week highs and four new lows.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Parkland Fuel Corp, which rose 4.5 percent after the company reported first-quarter results.

* Norbord Inc, the largest decliner on the index, was down 6.5 percent after posting quarterly results.

* Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume was Bombardier Inc, which reported a rise in its favoured measure of profit and agreed to sell its Toronto aircraft assembly site to a pension fund, sending shares of the plane and train maker up 1 percent.

* Manulife Financial and Neovasc Inc were also among the most heavily traded stocks.

* Volume on the TSX index was 15.12 million shares. Total volume on Thursday was 28.17 million shares. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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