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CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on materials boost, upbeat Aphria earnings

·2 min read

(Updates prices, adds sector details)

Jan 14 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, helped by materials stocks and upbeat earnings by Aphria Inc, with optimism about a large U.S. stimulus under incoming U.S. President Joe Biden further boosting sentiment.

* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.8%.

* The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were pot producers Aphria Inc, and Aurora Cannabis, which jumped 13.3% and 7.2%, respectively, after Aphria posted a quarterly adjusted profit compared to year-ago loss.

* The optimism in the Canadian market followed the upbeat mood in global equities after CNN reported Biden could spend a more-than-expected $2 trillion in stimulus.

* At 9:40 a.m. ET (14:40 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 44.65 points, or 0.25%, at 17,979.39.

* Adding to the upbeat mood, data showed Chinese exports grew more than expected in December, as coronavirus disruptions around the world fueled demand for Chinese goods.

* The energy sector dropped 0.1% as U.S. crude prices were down 0.6% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 1.0%.

* On the TSX, 148 issues were higher, while 66 issues declined for a 2.24-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 17.70 million shares traded.

* The fuel-cell products developer Ballard Power Systems Inc fell 6.5%, the most on the TSX, after brokerage TD Securities downgraded the rating "hold" from "speculative buy" and the second biggest decliner was NFI Group Inc, down 2.6%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Zenabis Global Inc, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc,and Aphria Inc.

* The TSX posted seven new 52-week highs and no new lows.

* Across all Canadian issues there were 59 new 52-week highs and six new lows, with total volume of 42.09 million shares. (Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)