TSX ekes out tiny gain, but gold miners drag

Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:33pm EDT
 
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index squeezed out a marginal gain on Thursday as Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) led energy companies higher following a takeover in the sector, but positive moves were tempered by lackluster gold miners, pressured by falling bullion prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE languished little changed for most of the session, and finished up 4.87 points, or 0.04 percent, at 12,466.12. This was the index's fourth straight positive finish and its highest close since Sept 14.

Five of the index's 10 main groups advanced.

Economic data out of China overnight showed more stable growth from the country, but worries about progress in the euro zone's debt crisis kept some market players on the sidelines. <MKTS/GLOB>

"I think investors are taking a wait and see approach ... Most investors are in pause mode," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners of Richardson GMP, but said signs of improvement out of China were beneficial to the commodities-heavy TSX index.

The financial sector, which makes up nearly a third of the index, finished 0.65 percent higher. The TSX gains were led by Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), which climbed 0.96 percent to C$58.75.

"It's a pretty stable sector in an otherwise trendless market," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

Oil and gas producer Encana was the second most influential gainer on the index, climbing 3.78 percent to C$23.64. The energy firm touched its highest level in more than a year earlier in the session, hitting C$23.85.   Continued...

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