CANADA STOCKS-TSX ekes out gain, on track for 1 pct rise on week

Reuters

(Adds portfolio manager comment, updates prices) By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, March 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index pushed marginally higher on Friday and was on track for a 1 percent gain for the week, as gold miners recovered along with the price of bullion and retailers rose after regulatory approval for a major takeover in the sector.

Investors took some solace from domestic data that showed February inflation within the central bank's target range and retail sales that bounced back in January.

"It's a sigh of relief on the inflation and retail numbers, which were a little higher," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 8.78 points, or 0.06 percent, at 14,370.61 after an hour of trade. At that level, the index was on track for a 1 percent gain for the week.

"You've got a rally going on in copper and gold, so the copper stocks are up and some of the golds are off the bottom from yesterday, that's helpful," ABC's Michael added.

Goldcorp Inc, one of the world's largest producers of the precious metal, added 0.7 percent to C$30.19, while diversified miner Teck Resources notched up a 0.9 percent gain to C$23.16.

Goldcorp and other gold miners had dipped earlier in the week as anxiety eased over the Ukraine crisis, which had added to gold's safe-haven appeal.

Grocery store chain Loblaw Cos Ltd jumped 3.3 percent to C$47.77 after a competition watchdog approved its C$12.4 billion ($11 billion) bid for pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart Corp.

Shares in Shoppers rose 1.8 percent to C$61.69.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish and Sophie Hares)

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