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Resource shares help lift Toronto market to 10-day high

FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange stock information is seen in Toronto

By Purvi Agarwal and Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index rose on Monday to a 10-day high, led by gains for resource shares, as an expectation that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates to support the U.S. economy if it fell into trouble bolstered investor sentiment.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 57.70 points, or 0.3%, at 21,067.30, its highest closing level since Feb. 2.

"The market sentiment is really good," said Allan Small, senior investment adviser of Allan Small Financial Group with iA Private Wealth. "The Federal Reserve is there to backstop the economy should things get really bad. A win-win mentality is partially fuelling this upward trend."

The U.S. consumer price (CPI) index report for January, due for release on Tuesday, could provide clues on the timing of expected interest rate cuts by the Fed.

"If the CPI shows inflation is not moving higher and we're still seeing GDP and jobs growth, it says inflation can come down and growth can still happen," Small said.

The energy sector rallied 1.2% as oil settled 8 cents higher at $76.92 a barrel on continued Middle East tensions and after Enbridge Inc reported quarterly results. The pipeline operator's shares ended with a gain of nearly 2%.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, was up 0.9%, while shares of luxury parka maker Canada Goose climbed 8.2%, helping to lift the consumer discretionary sector by 1.1%.

Fairfax Financial denied allegations by Muddy Waters Research that it was manipulating asset values, saying the short-seller's report was "false and misleading". The company's shares gained 4.9%.

Technology gave back some recent gains, falling 1.5%, and industrials were down 0.7%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Purvi Agarwal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal, Shilpi Majumdar and Marguerita Choy)