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CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as oil strength offsets losses in technology

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was flat on Wednesday, as losses in technology stocks were offset by gains in heavyweight energy stocks after crude oil prices neared their highest in about a year.

* OPEC+’s forecast of a deficit in the market this year fueled demand recovery hopes.

* The energy sector climbed 1.7% as U.S. crude prices were up 1.9% a barrel, while Brent crude added 1.7%.

* At 9:49 a.m. ET (1449 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 8.04 points, or 0.04%, at 17,866.45.

* The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart, giving up some gains from the day before when the prospect of more U.S. economic stimulus bolstered risk appetite, while investors awaited Canada’s jobs report on Friday.

* The financial sector gained 0.1%, while industrials fell 0.3%.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.4% as gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,836.8 an ounce.

* On the TSX, 119 issues were higher, while 97 issues declined for a 1.23-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 24.05 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was ATS Automation Tooling Systems, which jumped 18.2% after strong quarterly results.

* Aphria Inc rose 8.1% as weed-related stocks surged after drug developer Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc paid a large premium to buy cannabis-based drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals Plc.

* New Gold Inc fell 3.3%, the most on the TSX, after CIBC cut target price. The second-biggest decliner was Shopify Inc, down 2.3%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Baytex Energy Corp, Supreme Cannabis Co and Aphria Inc.

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

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 56 new 52-week highs and two new lows, with total volume of 65.85 million shares. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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