June 19, 2019 / 2:30 PM / 3 months ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat ahead of U.S. Fed statement

June 19 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was subdued on Wednesday, as investors adopted a cautious approach ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy statement that could open the door to future interest rate cuts.

* Still, when the Fed concludes its latest two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, it is expected to leave interest rates on hold but flag whether it plans to cut rates later this year as investors expect.

* Expectations that central banks around the world would turn more accommodative to impede slowing global growth spurred a near 3% gain so far this month. This follows the main index posting its worst monthly performance this year in May due to escalating U.S.-China trade tensions.

* However, data showed that Canada’s annual inflation rate unexpectedly rose to a seven-month high in May, prompting analysts to predict the Bank of Canada would not be cutting interest rates anytime soon.

* Also weighing on the sentiment, the energy sector dropped 0.7% as U.S. crude prices were down 1.1% per barrel, while Brent crude lost 1.2%.

* At 9:48 a.m. ET (13:48 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 2.56 points, or 0.02%, at 16,505.91.

* Interest rate sensitive financial stocks rose 0.5%, the most among the four major sectors trading higher.

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

* On the TSX, 81 issues were higher, while 155 issues declined for a 1.91-to-1 ratio to the downside, with traded volume touching 18.68 million shares.

* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was CannTrust Holdings Inc, which jumped 5.6% after the medical cannabis company formed a joint venture with Elk Grove Farming Company LLC and started operations in California, United States.

* Canadian Tire Corp, which rose 1.7%, was also among the top percentage gainers.

* Gran Tierra Energy fell 11.6%, the most on the TSX, after the company announced an operations update.

* The second biggest decliner was InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust, down 2.8% after the company announced $175 million equity offering to fund property acquisitions in the city of Montreal.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were Bombardier Inc, Champion Iron Limited and Stornoway Diamond Corp.

* The TSX posted three new 52-week highs and one new low.

* Across all Canadian issues, there were 15 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, with total volumes touching 31.44 million shares. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

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