Spanish auction helps TSX eke out gain

Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:58pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended slightly higher in choppy trade on Thursday after a successful Spanish bond auction sparked an early positive tone in markets, but mixed U.S. economic data and corporate earnings kept a firm lid on gains.

Top gainers included Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote), up 1.7 percent to C$41.18 and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO: Quote), up 1.8 percent to C$34.55.

SXC Health Solutions SXC.TO rose for a seventh straight session, surging 8.9 percent to C$96.49 in the afterglow of its deal to buy rival U.S. pharmacy benefit manager Catalyst Health Solutions Inc CHSI.O for about $4.4 billion.

Among the key laggards, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) fell 0.7 percent to C$55.05, Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO: Quote) lost 0.5 percent to C$79.56 and Shoppers Drug Mart SC.TO slipped 1.7 percent to C$43.55.

"(Investors) may be taking money out of some of the more stable stocks, like a Shoppers or something like that that's hung in there better than some of these resource stocks which have been battered, so it might be part of a bit of a rotational trade," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 24.80 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,153.69. All three of the heavyweight financials, materials and energy groups were stronger, but the rest of the sectors ended in negative territory.

Weak U.S. data put a damper on broader confidence, weighing on Wall Street as indexes south of the border ended lower. .N

The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits for the first time fell only slightly last week, suggesting that job growth in April will not improve much after March's disappointing performance.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch