CANADA STOCKS-Weed stocks drive TSX higher as ‘Cannabis 2.0’ kicks off

Oct 17(Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index advanced on Thursday, led by cannabis stocks as legalization of marijuana derivatives including edibles and beverages took effect.

* At 9:37 a.m. ET (13:37 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 24.79 points, or 0.15%, at 16,451.97.

* Shares of Cronos Group were the top performer on TSX with a 11% jump, while those of Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth Corp, Hexo Corp rose between 2.4% and 4.2%.

* So-called Cannabis 2.0 comes a year after Canada legalized use of recreational marijuana. Sales are expected to begin in mid-December.

* Another bright spot was shares of First Quantum Minerals Ltd, which jumped 10% after Pangaea Investment Management, backed by one of China’s biggest copper producers Jiangxi Copper , raised its stake in the Canadian miner to 10.8%.

* Eight of the index’s 11 major sectors were higher, led by a 3% jump in the healthcare sector.

* The energy sector dropped 0.2% as U.S. crude prices were down 0.8% a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.6%.

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

* On the TSX, 147 issues were higher, while 73 issues declined for a 2.01-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 12.26 million shares traded.

* Enerplus Corp fell 2.0%, the most on the TSX. The second biggest decliner was Ag Growth International Inc , down 1.8%.

* The most heavily traded shares by volume were of Aurora Cannabis, Royal Bank of Canada, and Toscana Energy Income Corp.

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

* Across all Canadian issues there were five new 52-week highs and seven new lows, with total volume of 19.85 million shares. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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