October 1, 2018 / 2:30 PM / 2 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on financial boost, NAFTA optimism

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday, boosted by financial stocks as bets for another Bank of Canada interest rate hike were supported by a last-minute deal to salvage the trilateral NAFTA trade pact.

* The new trilateral trade pact, announced on Sunday, will be called United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), largely leaving the broad North American Free Trade Agreement intact and maintains current supply chains that would have been fractured under weaker bilateral deals.

* At 9:54 a.m. ET (1354 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 98.62 points, or 0.61 percent, at 16,171.76.

* Nine of the index’s 11 major sectors were higher, led by a 0.4 percent gain in the heavy-weight financial sector.

* The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates four times since July 2017. Chances of another hike in October have climbed to 84 percent from 77 percent before data on Friday showing stronger-than-expected domestic economic growth in July.

* Leading gainers in the financial stocks were Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia which rose between 0.55 percent and 0.7 percent.

* The Canadian dollar strengthened to a four-month high against its U.S. counterpart on optimism around further rate hikes.

* Also helping the main index was the energy sector , which climbed 1.6 percent after Brent crude neared its highest since November 2014 aided by concerns about a supply crunch once U.S. sanctions against Iran come into force next month.

* U.S. crude prices were up 0.4 percent and Brent crude added 0.6 percent.

* On the TSX, 165 issues were higher, while 75 issues declined for a 2.20-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 40.26 million shares traded.

* Top percentage gainer on the TSX was MEG Energy Corp , which jumped 36.9 percent on Husky Energy’s hostile bid to combine MEG’s heavy oil production with Husky’s output in a C$6.4 billion cash-and-stock offer.

* Husky Energy, however, fell 7.4 percent, the most on the TSX.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were of MEG Energy, Aurora Cannabis and Royal Nickel.

* The TSX posted two new 52-week highs and three new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 17 new 52-week highs and 36 new lows, with total volume of 69.31 million shares. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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