TSX gets lift from financials, resources; RIM eyed

Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:29pm EST
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index finished higher on Wednesday with banks and resource stocks leading the way, bucking a decline in U.S. equities, which fell on waning optimism over a timely resolution to the U.S. budget crisis.

With less than two weeks left to avert automatic U.S. tax increases and spending cuts that threaten to throw the economy back in recession, talks between congressional Republicans and the White House have stalled.

Global markets have generally rallied and retreated on the tides of investor sentiment over the budget talks in Washington.

"It's very weird because the U.S. kind of keeled over today over worries that there won't be enough to time to seal a deal. Toronto kind of shrugged that off," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

"Maybe people decided to do a little bit of early Christmas shopping and take advantage of the fact that the TSX has gone essentially nowhere this year," he said. "Especially some of those commodity stocks have gone worse than nowhere. They've been detrimental to your portfolio."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 69.29 points, or 0.56 percent, at 12,403.63. Nine of the index's main groups were positive.

"Traders are not exactly sure which way to go," said Gareth Watson, vice president, investment management and research, at Richardson GMP. "There's probably more optimism involved here than a couple of weeks ago. But still definitely a lot of caution out there."

Financial stocks were up 1.16 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was the biggest gainer, up 1.14 percent at C$60.53. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) followed with a 1.19 percent rise to C$83.10.   Continued...

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