CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as Restaurant Brands rally offsets decline in energy

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Monday as losses in energy shares were countered by a rally in consumer stocks led by Restaurant Brands, while investors kept a wary eye on the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

* At 09:46 a.m. ET (14:46 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 7.7 points, or 0.04%, at 17,663.19.

* Restaurant Brands International Inc rallied 3% after its quarterly results beat analysts’ estimates on Monday, taking the consumer discretionary index up more than 1%.

* Data showing Canadian housing starts rose by 8.8% in January from the previous month further boosted sentiment, while separate data indicated the value of Canadian building permits rose by 7.4% in December from November.

* The energy sector dropped 1.2% as U.S. crude prices were down 0.7% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 1.1% on weaker Chinese oil demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

* The fast-spreading, flu-like virus has so far killed more than 900 people in China, exceeding the death toll from a SARS epidemic two decades ago.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.1% as gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,573.1 an ounce on its safe-haven appeal.

* On the TSX, 126 issues were higher, while 100 issues declined for a 1.26-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 19.82 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Transalta Corp, which jumped 4.8% after an RBC upgrade to “outperform”. Silvercorp Metal followed with its 3.3% rise.

* Aurora Cannabis fell 5.3%, the most on the TSX, after brokerage CIBC cut its price target for the stocks. The second biggest decliner was Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, down 3.7%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Bombardier , Aurora Cannabis and Enbridge Inc.

* The TSX posted 15 new 52-week highs and one new low.

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 53 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows, with total volume of 32.91 million shares.

Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri