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CANADA STOCKS-TSX inches higher ahead of U.S. Fed comments

(Updates prices, sectors)

June 16 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose slightly on Wednesday, helped by gains in technology stocks, while investors awaited comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve on when it would ease its monetary stimulus.

* Fed officials on Wednesday are expected to at least flag the pending start of talks about when and how to exit from the crisis-era policies the U.S. central bank put in place at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

* At 9:41 a.m. ET (13:41 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 23.94 points, or 0.12%, at 20,255.26, with IT stocks, up 0.5%, leading gains.

* Locally, inflation in May accelerated at its fastest pace in a decade for a second month in a row, driven by surging shelter and vehicle prices, as the impact of the statistical comparison to tanking prices last year eased, data showed.

* The energy sector dropped 1% as U.S. crude prices were down 0.1% a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.2%.

* The financials sector gained 0.2%. The industrials sector rose 0.2%.

* On the TSX, 131 issues were higher, while 85 issues declined for a 1.54-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 13.76 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Canfor Corp , which jumped 2.5% after the forest products company said it would buy back up to 6.26 million shares.

* Its gains were followed by NFI Group Inc, which rose 2.3% after the bus and motor coach manufacturer received an order for 195 buses from RATP Dev London.

* Cyberscurity firm Blackberry Ltd fell 3.9%, the most on the TSX, and the second-biggest decliner was Kinross Gold Corp, down 2.8% after the miner temporarily suspended mill operations at its Tasiast mine due to a fire on June 15.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Kinross, Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd and Canadian Natural Resources Limited.

* The TSX posted 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 74 new 52-week highs and two new lows, with total volume of 29.06 million shares. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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