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CANADA STOCKS-Materials push TSX higher

Feb 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday, buoyed by materials stocks as retail traders piled into silver in a frenzy kicked off by U.S. social media users last week.

* Silver broke above $30 an ounce for the first time since 2013 as traders switched their focus from mission “Gamestonk” and triggering fears of a multi-asset melt-up in global markets.

* At 9:38 a.m. ET (14:38 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 230.66 points, or 1.33%, at 17,567.68.

* Canadian factory activity grew at the slowest pace in six months in January, data showed on Monday, highlighting challenges to the economy as restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic threaten to slow activity.

* Mexico’s government plans to seek more than $500 million from Canadian miner First Majestic Silver Corp in what it says are owed taxes for artificially keeping its silver prices low over the past decade, two sources told Reuters.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 3.9% as gold futures rose 1.0% to $1,865.5 an ounce.

* The energy sector climbed 2.0% as U.S. crude prices were up 1.7% a barrel, while Brent crude added 1.8%.

* The financials sector gained 0.8%. The industrials sector rose 0.8%.

* On the TSX, 199 issues were higher, while 20 issues declined for a 9.95-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 20.67 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Silvercorp Metals Inc, which jumped 28.5%, and First Majestic Silver Corp, which rose 28.1%.

* Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc fell 2.6%, the most on the TSX. The second biggest decliner was BlackBerry Ltd , down 1.9%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Zenabis Global Inc, Bank Of Montreal and Silver Elephant Mining Corp.

* The TSX posted 4 new 52-week highs and no new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 25 new 52-week highs and one new low, with total volume of 54.20 million shares. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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