October 15, 2018 / 2:40 PM / a month ago

CANADA STOCKS-Precious metal shares drive Canada's main stock index higher

Oct 15 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was higher on Monday as mining stocks rose on the back of climbing gold prices.

* At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was up 23.92 points, or 0.16 percent, at 15,438.21.

* The materials group added 1.5 percent as gold prices rose more than 1 percent.

* Investors parked their funds in the safe-haven asset after a slide in European equities compounded fears on global stock markets.

* Top percentage gainers on the TSX were led by shares of gold miners, Iamgold Corp, which soared 4.7 percent, and Endeavour Mining, which surged 4.6 percent.

* However, the energy sector edged down 0.1 percent, reversing its trend from the opening bell amid a fall in oil prices.

* The financials sector fell 0.1 percent.

* The Bank of Canada said Canadian business optimism remained at near record-levels in the third quarter, with companies reporting rising pressure on capacity, labor and prices amid signs of stronger sales.

* The Canadian dollar edged higher against the greenback on Monday ahead of the release of a business survey by the Bank of Canada.

* On the TSX, 143 issues were higher, while 98 issues declined for a 1.46-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 16.94 million shares traded.

* Blackberry Ltd fell 1.8 percent, the most on the TSX, followed by shares of Descartes Systems, which shed 1.4 percent.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Aurora Cannabis, Royal Nickel and The Green Organic Dutchman.

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

* Across all Canadian issues, there were six new 52-week highs and 18 new lows, with total volume touching 28.75 million shares. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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