(Reuters) - Energy stocks pushed Canada’s main stock index higher on Wednesday, as oil prices surged to their highest level since early March after data showed a big drop in U.S. crude inventories.
* U.S. crude inventories fell 8.6 million barrels to 520 million barrels in the week to Aug. 1, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 3 million barrel drop, the American Petroleum Institute found.
* The energy sector climbed 3.7% as U.S. crude prices were up 4% a barrel, while Brent crude added 3.8%. [O/R]
* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were oil producers Crescent Point Energy Corp and Seven Generations Energy Ltd, which rose about 6% each.
* At 9:36 a.m. ET (1336 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 119.16 points, or 0.73%, at 16,487.19.
* Also helping the main index, the materials sector added 1.4%, as gold futures rose 1.6% and hit a record high on Wednesday. [GOL/] [MET/L]
* On the macro front, data showed Canada’s trade deficit unexpectedly ballooned to C$3.19 billion ($2.41 billion) in June on a surge in imports of motor vehicles and parts as the economy started to reopen.
* On the TSX, 169 issues were higher, while 47 issues declined for a 3.60-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 16.38 million shares traded.
* The real estate investment trust WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust WIR_u.TO fell 1.8%, the most on the TSX, and the second biggest decliner was gold miner Torex Gold Resources Inc, down 1.6%.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Bank Of Montreal, Eastmain Resources Inc and Harte Gold Corp.
* The TSX posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new low.
* Across all Canadian issues there were 118 new 52-week highs and eight new lows, with total volume of 37.76 million shares.
Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel
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