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CANADA STOCKS-TSX gains on firmer materials, upbeat economic data

(Updates prices, adds sector details)

March 15 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday as material shares gained, tracking firmer bullion prices, and upbeat economic data bolstered optimism over an economic rebound.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.8% as gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,731.9 an ounce.

* Statistics Canada said the nation’s factory sales rose 3.1% in January from December and added that domestic producer prices most likely rose by 2.5% in February from January, in a preliminary estimate.

* Meanwhile, Canadian Real Estate Association said domestic home sales rose 6.6% in February from the previous month, setting a new all-time record.

* At 9:39 a.m. ET (13:39 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 93.54 points, or 0.5%, at 18,944.86.

* Adding to the upbeat mood were Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc, the largest percentage gainers on the TSX, up 7.4% and 44.6% respectively, after Roger agreed to buy its rival Shaw for about C$20 billion in cash and stock.

* The financials sector gained 0.1%, while industrials rose 0.2%.

* On the TSX, 153 issues advanced, while 63 issues declined in a 2.43-to-1 ratio favoring gainers, with 15.69 million shares traded.

* Innergex Renewable Energy Inc and Ballard Power Systems Inc fell the most on the TSX, down 2.3% and 2.1% respectively, after brokerage CIBC cut price targets on the renewable power-based stocks.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Battle North Gold Corporation, Shaw Communications Inc, and ClearStream Energy Services Inc.

* The TSX posted 15 new 52-week highs and no new low.

* Across Canadian issues, there were 109 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, with total volume of 41.29 million shares. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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