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TSX drifts higher on commodities boost

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April 12 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Friday, snapping a two-day slide as materials and energy stocks surged on stronger commodities prices.

At 9:58 a.m. ET (1358 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE), opens new tab was up 46.18 points, or 0.21%, at 22,156.29.

The materials sector (.GSPTTMT), opens new tab, which has Canadian miners and fertilizer companies, led gains with a 2.2% surge, heading for its best day since March-end.

The sector was pulled up by metal miners such as Silvercrest Metals (SIL.TO), opens new tab and NovaGold Resources (NG.TO), opens new tab, which gained 5.8% and 3.9%, respectively, after precious and base metals marched upwards.

Energy shares also advanced (.SPTTEN), opens new tab 1.0% as oil prices surged by $2 per barrel on Middle East tensions.

Eight of the eleven sectors were trading in losses.

Healthcare shares (.GSPTTHC), opens new tab are on track to lag their sectoral peers while material shares are set to outperform them.

The benchmark index faces a weekly loss after Wednesday’s plunge as the Canadian central bank kept its rates on hold, and a reading of hot inflation data in the United States dampened hopes of a June rate cut.

“This week’s data showed that progress on inflation might be stalling; interest rates might need to stay high for longer. We’ll see some of the caution persist”, said Angelo Kourkafas, senior investment strategist at Edward Jones Investments.

Meanwhile, corporate earnings season kicked off in the United States with big banks JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), opens new tab reporting a higher first-quarter profit, while Citigroup and Wells Fargo’s (WFC.N), opens new tab profits fell.

In Canadian corporate news, shares of MTY Foods, opens new tab(MTY.TO), opens new tab fell 8.0% after the restaurant operator reported its first quarter results.

Reporting by Purvi Agarwal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ravi Prakash Kumar

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