September 5, 2018 / 2:43 PM / 20 days ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX led lower by energy stocks

Sept 5 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index slipped on Wednesday, as energy stocks declined in tandem with a fall in oil prices and uncertainty around trade talks persisted.

* At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 55.47 points, or 0.34 percent, at 16,105.83. At current levels, the index is looking at fourth straight session of declines.

* The Bank of Canada maintained interest rates at 1.50 percent as expected and reiterated that while more hikes would be needed to keep inflation on target, it would take a gradual approach.

* Trade was also in focus as Canada heads into talks in Washington to renew NAFTA determined not to back down on key issues despite threats from U.S. President Donald Trump to retaliate against the Canadian economy unless Ottawa gives ground quickly.

* Eight of the index's 11 major sectors were in the red, led by the 1.7 pct drop in the energy sector.

* The biggest lags on the energy index were TransCanada , Suncor Energy and Canadian Natural Resources which all fell about 1 percent.

* U.S. crude prices were down 0.9 percent a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.7 percent.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.5 percent and was the second-biggest drag on the TSX.

* Shares of First Quantum Minerals fell 2 percent and weighed the most on the materials group.

* Gold futures rose 0.3 percent to $1,196 an ounce, while copper prices advanced 0.8 percent to $5,863.5 a tonne.

* The heavyweight financials sector gained 0.2 percent.

* Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Manulife Financial Corp rose between 0.2 percent and 0.8 percent and provided the biggest support to financials.

* On the TSX, 55 issues were higher, while 177 issues declined for a 3.22-to-1 ratio to the downside, with 14.44 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was gold and copper miner Nevsun Resources, which jumped 17.4 percent on a C$1.86 billion ($1.41 billion) buyout from China's Zijin Mining Group Co.

* Second-biggest advancer on the index was Aphria Inc , which rose 7.0 percent.

* Shawcor Ltd fell 6.1 percent, the most on the TSX, followed by Precision Drilling's 5.9 percent decline after TD Securities downgraded both the stocks.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Centric Health and Aphria Inc .

* The TSX posted two new 52-week highs and 13 new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 11 new 52-week highs and 19 new lows, with total volume of 23.96 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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