CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher on gains in defensive stocks

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Wednesday led by gains in defensive shares, while those of the world’s largest weed producer Canopy Growth slipped after its co-chief executive officer said he was fired from the company.

* At 9:38 a.m. ET (13:38 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 24.56 points, or 0.15%, at 16,495.85.

* Eight of the index’s 11 major sectors were in the positive territory, with gainers outnumbering decliners by a 1.20 to 1 ratio.

* The consumer staples and utilities groups, which tend to receive more buying interest when investors are feeling defensive, rose 1.2% and 0.8% each, amid concerns over slowing global growth.

* The energy sector dropped 0.4% as U.S. crude prices were up 1.2% a barrel, while Brent crude added 1.4%.

* The heavyweight financial sector gained 0.3% while the industrials sector rose 0.2%.

* The healthcare sector slipped 1.5%, with Canopy Growth Co falling 4.7% on co-CEO Bruce Linton’s surprise exit.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cascades Inc, which jumped 3.6% after TD Securities raised its price target on the shares of paper packaging companies.

* Canopy Growth fell the most on the TSX and the second biggest decliner was Ensign Energy Services Inc, down 2.4%.

* Mullen Group Ltd rose 2.7% after CIBC raised rating on its shares to “outperform” from “neutral”.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Prometic Life Sciences Inc, Moneta Porcupine Mines Inc, and Canopy Growth.

* On the economic front, a Statistics Canada report showed rising exports of motor vehicles, aircraft and energy products helped Canada post a surprise C$762 million ($582 million) trade surplus in goods in May, only the second surplus seen since December 2016.

* On the TSX 11.37 million shares traded.

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

* Across all Canadian issues there were 20 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, with total volume of 35.85 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)