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CANADA STOCKS-Tech recovery drives TSX gains; keeps rates steady

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Jan 26 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index gained on Wednesday as beaten-down technology stocks rose sharply, while the Bank of Canada held interest rates steady but flagged hikes later this year as it seeks to curb inflation.

At 20:25 a.m. ET (15:25 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 237.82 points, or 1.15%, at 20,828.8.

Technology stocks, which had been under pressure from rising bond yields over the past few weeks, led gains in early trade, rising more than 3% from 14-month lows.

The Canadian central bank held its benchmark interest rate at 0.25%, but said lending rates would need to increase this year to bring down inflation, without specifying a precise timeline.

Focus is now on the conclusion of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the day, where investors are anticipating more signals from the central bank on when it intends to begin raising interest rates this year. Uncertainty over the Fed’s plan has rattled markets in recent weeks.

“The market expects rate hikes to start in March. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how many hikes there’ll be during the year, but investors think the most likely scenario is five or more, in contrast to the three that the Committee members predicted,” BDSwiss Holding Head of Investment Research Marshall Gittler said.

The Canadian energy sector climbed 2.3% as oil prices rose on concerns over a potential hit to production over geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine.


The TSX posted one new 52-week high and no new low.

Across Canadian issues, there were seven new 52-week highs and 18 new lows, with total volume of 81.39 million shares.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Vinay Dwivedi