TSX hits record high after central bank leaves door open for rate cut

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index scaled an all-time peak on Wednesday after the central bank maintained its key overnight interest rate but opened the door to a possible cut should a slowdown in Canadian growth drag on.

FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

At 10:20 a.m. ET (1520 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 82.36 points, or 0.47%, at 17,654.64.

The Bank of Canada has held interest rates steady since October 2018 even as several of its international counterparts have eased monetary policy.

Data by Statistics Canada earlier showed the country’s annual inflation rate held steady at 2.2% in December, supported by higher energy prices and balanced out by slower cost gains in food and cars.

The interest rate sensitive financials sector was up 0.3%.

The energy sector dropped 0.6% as U.S. crude prices were down 2.2% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 1.8%. [O/R]

The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.2%. [GOL/] [MET/L]

On the TSX, 140 issues were higher, while 89 issues declined for a 1.57-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 16.68 million shares traded.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Bombardier BBDb.TO, which jumped 7%, rising for the second day after a report of talks to combine its rail unit with French peer Alstom.

Spin Master Corp TOY.TO fell 5.2%, the most on the TSX, after the toymaker lowered its forecast for holiday quarter sales.

The most heavily-traded shares by volume were Bombardier, Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO and Encana Corp ECA.TO.

The TSX posted 29 new 52-week highs and no new lows.

Across all Canadian issues there were 102 new 52-week highs and five new lows, with total volume of 53.02 million shares.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni