Canada stocks on pace to see their best quarter in nearly 10 years

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From Reuters:

March 29 (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index was trading flat on Friday, as losses in heavyweight financials offset gains in energy stocks and BlackBerry shares.

* TSX was poised for its biggest quarterly rise since the second quarter of 2009.

* At 9:39 a.m. ET (13:39 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 3.89 points, or 0.02 percent, at 16,159.38.

* On the economic front, the latest Statistics Canada report showed that the domestic economy grew by 0.3 percent in January from December, offsetting the declines of the last two months.

* Shares of BlackBerry Ltd rose about 14 percent, leading the gains on the TSX, after the company topped quarterly profit estimates, helped by a sharp rise in fees for licensing and using its technologies as it develops more software and solutions for customers.

* The energy sector climbed 0.9 percent as U.S. crude prices were up 1.9 percent a barrel, while Brent crude added 1.2 percent.

* The financials sector, which accounts for about a third of the main index’s weight, slipped 0.2 percent. The industrials sector dipped 0.1 percent.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metal miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.5 percent as gold futures rose 0.7 percent to $1,298.5 an ounce.

* On the TSX, 158 issues were higher, while 73 issues declined for a 2.16-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 14.05 million shares traded.

* Another large percentage gainer on the TSX, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, rose 4.8 percent after brokerage CIBC raised the stock’s price target.

* Shares of Wheaton Precious Metals Corp, leading decliner on the TSX, dropped 3.5 percent. The second-biggest drop was BRP Inc, down 2.4 percent.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Blackberry, Aurora Cannabis and CannTrust Holdings Inc.

* The TSX posted five new 52-week highs and no fresh one-year low.

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 14 new 52-week highs and four new lows, with total trading volume hitting 24.50 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

The iShares MSCI Canada ETF (EWC) was trading at $27.63 per share on Friday morning, up $0.05 (+0.18%). Year-to-date, EWC has declined -6.78%, versus a 5.90% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

EWC currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #1 of 6 ETFs in the Canada Equities ETFs category.

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