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TSX adds to weekly gain as investors favor inflation hedges

FILE PHOTO: The facade of the original Toronto Stock Exchange building is seen in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's resource-heavy main stock index rose on Friday, adding to its weekly gain, as evidence of stubborn inflation in the United States increased the appeal of owning commodity-linked shares.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 83.86 points, or 0.4%, at 21,969.24. For the week, the index was up 0.7%.

"The market is clearly looking for inflation hedges and I think you've seen that with the move we've seen in commodities of late," said Mike Archibald, a portfolio manager at AGF Investments. "The decline in inflation looks like it has stalled a little bit in the U.S."

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U.S. monthly inflation rose moderately in March, but stubbornly higher costs for housing and utilities suggested the Federal Reserve could keep interest rates elevated for a while.

The materials group, which includes metal miners and fertilizer companies, rose 1.7% as gold and copper prices climbed, with copper moving to a two-year high.

Gains for the sector were led by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Its shares jumped 12.5%.

Energy also gained ground, rising 0.3%, as the price of oil settled 0.3% higher at $83.85 a barrel on supply concerns amid continued tensions in the Middle East.

Combined, the materials and energy sectors account for roughly one-third of the Toronto market's weighting. Financials, the TSX's most heavily-weighted sector, ended 0.4% higher.

TFI International Inc was among the stocks that lost ground. It ended 2.3% lower after the transportation and logistics company's first-quarter results missed estimates.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Purvi Agarwal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ravi Prakash Kumar and Alistair Bell)