CANADA STOCKS-TSX dips as higher core inflation dampens rate cut hopes

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Wednesday after four consecutive sessions of gains, as an uptick in domestic core annual inflation tempered hopes of an interest rate cut.

* Canada’s annual inflation rate rose 2.2% as expected in November on the back of higher energy prices, Statistics Canada said, but analysts noted that the increase in core measures could make it harder for the Bank of Canada to ease rates.

* All of the index’s 11 major sectors were lower, led by a 1.7% drop in the healthcare sector.

* At 9:45 a.m. ET (14:42 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 35.22 points, or 0.21%, at 17,039.98.

* The energy sector dropped 0.4% as U.S. crude prices were down 0.7% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.5%.

* On the TSX, 87 issues were higher, while 136 issues declined for a 1.56-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 18.55 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Aecon Group , which jumped 3.4% after the construction company said it was awarded three contracts and TransAlta Corp, which was up 3.2%.

* The biggest decliners were cannabis companies Hexo Corp and Aurora Cannabis, which fell 3.6% each.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were BCE Inc , Aurora Cannabis and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce .

* The TSX posted four new 52-week highs and no new low.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 25 new 52-week highs and four new lows, with total volume of 30.25 million shares. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)