Futures up on higher oil; inflation, trade data in focus

(Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index rose modestly on Wednesday, after higher oil prices lifted the energy sector.

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

* At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was up 18.9 points, or 0.11 percent, at 16,521.1.

* Five of the index’s 11 major sectors were higher, led by a 0.5 percent rise in the energy sector.

* U.S. crude prices were up 0.4 percent, while Brent crude added 0.2 percent.

* Brent hit a 2019 high above $72 a barrel, propelled by steady economic growth in China and a fall in U.S. crude stocks which defied expectations and signalled firm demand, while global supply remained tight. [O/R]

* The financials sector gained 0.1 percent. The industrials sector rose 0.2 percent.

* Canada’s annual inflation rate edged up to 1.9 percent in March from 1.5 percent in February as the downward pressure from gasoline prices lessened, easing market expectations that the Bank of Canada would cut interest rates by year end.

* On the TSX, 160 issues were higher, while 73 issues declined for a 2.19-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 10.20 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Hexo Corp and First Quantum Minerals, rising 4.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

* Aphria Inc fell 4.7 percent, the most on the TSX, after Cormark Securities cut its price target on the cannabis producer.

* The second-biggest decliner was Western Forest, down 2.6 percent, after TD Securities downgraded the company’s stock to “hold” from “buy”.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Prometic Life Sciences, Stornoway Diamond Corp and Aphria.

* The TSX posted

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