April 20, 2018 / 2:27 PM / 3 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as financials, Rogers Communications offset economic data

April 20 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Friday as gains in financial companies and Rogers Communications offset declines in energy stocks and lower-than-expected domestic inflation data.

* At 9:55 a.m. ET (1355 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 7.81 points, or 0.05 percent, to 15,462.23.

* Canada’s annual inflation rate rose to 2.3 percent in February, exceeding the central bank’s 2.0 percent target for the second straight month but was slightly below analyst expectations of a 2.4 percent rise.

* Canadian retail sales grew by 0.4 percent in February, higher than a 0.3 percent gain expected by Reuters’ poll of analysts.

* “The markets are a little bit disappointed because the numbers are softer than anticipated,” said Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics at Scotiabank. “But to me it still keeps May in play for the Bank of Canada. It doesn’t change the story in terms of the risks in my view.”

* Shares of telecommunications company Rogers Communications jumped 5.3 percent and was the biggest percentage gainer on the TSX after at least two brokerages raised their price target on the stock.

* The energy sector, which accounts for close to one-fifth of the index’s weight, was down 1.1 percent tracking a dip in prices of oil, one of Canada’s major exports.

* Enbridge was down 1.2 percent, Canadian Natural Resources fell 1.5 percent and Canadian Natural Resources lost 2 percent.

* Oil prices fell after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized OPEC and said oil prices were artificially high.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, declined 0.4 percent as losses in gold producers weighed.

* Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,336.57 an ounce.

* The TSX posted one new 52-week high and two new lows. Across all Canadian issues there were five new 52-week highs and four new lows.

* Advantage Oil & Gas fell 4.9 percent and was the largest decliner on the index after the oil and gas producer lowered its second-quarter natural gas production forecast.

* Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Baytex Energy Co and Crescent Pnt.

* Volume on the TSX index was 21.89 million shares while the total volume on Friday was 32.41 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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