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CANADA STOCKS-TSX inches lower as energy stocks drag on weaker crude prices

(Updates prices, adds sector details)

March 23 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index inched lower on Tuesday, as energy stocks dropped over 2% tracking weaker crude, while investors remained cautious ahead of Congressional testimony by U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

* The energy sector dropped 2.4% as oil prices fell more than 4%, hit by concerns over new pandemic curbs and slow vaccine rollouts in Europe.

* At 9:35 a.m. ET (13:35 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 15.75 points, or 0.08%, at 18,799.38.

* Oil producers Crescent Point Energy Corp and Meg Energy Corp were the biggest decliners on the index, falling 4.2% and 4.3% respectively.

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

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.3%.

* On the TSX, 94 issues advanced, while 129 issues declined in a 1.37-to-1 ratio favoring decliners, with 15.65 million shares traded.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were George Weston Limited, which jumped 2.7% after the company announced it would sell its food retail segment, Weston Foods, and focus on its retail and real estate businesses.

* Its gains were followed by greenhouse grower Village Farms International, Inc., which rose 2.7%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Bombardier Inc, and Power Corporation of Canada.

* The TSX posted one new 52-week high and no new low.

* Across Canadian issues, there were 14 new 52-week highs and three new lows, with total volume of 31.21 million shares. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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