(Corrects headline and paragraph 1 to remove reference to investors awaiting the Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision. The central bank announced its decision to hold rates steady earlier in the day)
Sept 9 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose at the open on Wednesday, tracking higher oil prices, while investors moved past news of a pause in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trials.
* At 9:54 a.m. ET (1354 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 227.69 points, or 1.41%, at 16,327.21.
* Canadian housing starts rose 6.9% in August compared with the previous month as groundbreaking increased on multi-family units, data from the national housing agency showed on Wednesday.
* The energy sector climbed 1.6% as U.S. crude prices rose 1.4% a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.6%.
* The financials sector gained 0.9%, while the industrials sector rose 1.0%.
* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 2.9% while gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,925 an ounce.
* On the TSX, 200 issues gained, while 19 issues fell for a 10.53-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 27.63 million shares traded.
* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, which jumped 6.8% after brokerages TD Securities and Canaccord raised their price targets on its stock, while Pretium Resources rose 5.1%.
* ATS Automation Tooling Systems fell 4.9%, the most on the TSX, after announcing a reorganization plan that included workforce reductions in Europe and Asia to help mitigate the expected impact of a downturn in its transportation markets brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
* The most heavily traded shares by volume were BCE Inc , Suncor Energy and Barrick Gold Corp.
* The TSX posted two new 52-week highs and no new low.
* Across all Canadian issues there were nine new 52-week highs and no new low, with total volume of 48.51 million shares. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Vinay Dwivedi)
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