TSX flat as energy gains offset Europe worries

Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:46pm EDT
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index eked out its fourth straight gain on Wednesday, led by energy shares, but comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel reignited worries about the euro zone debt crisis.

Half of Canada's 10 main sectors finished higher, reflecting investor uncertainty about the outlook for global growth.

"Canada is flat," said Pat McHugh, Canadian equity strategist at Manulife Asset Management. "We're not going to get anything moving here until we see a whiff of global growth."

The heavyweight oil and gas sector kept the broader index in positive territory, rising 0.3 percent. Energy shares climbed with oil prices amid rising tensions in the Middle East and as U.S. gasoline stocks unexpectedly fell last week. <O/R>

The biggest gainers included Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), up 2.8 percent at C$28.07, Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), which rose 0.7 percent to C$30.20, and TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO: Quote), up 1 percent at C$44.21.

The influential Canadian financial sector edged up 0.2 percent, as U.S. bank earnings continued to beat expectations.

The latest was Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Quote), the second-largest U.S. bank, which posted quarterly earnings of $2.5 billion, reversing a year-earlier loss.

That followed recent positive results from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N: Quote), Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote).   Continued...

People walk past an electronic board displaying the midday TSX index in Toronto February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch