TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose slightly, but eked out enough of a gain to finish with its strongest close in 10 months, as a big rise in Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO shares offset a decline in mining stocks.
This was the fourth straight gain for the index and investors were looking ahead to next week’s busy earnings schedule in the United States.
“I do think that confidence is building up in the market,” said Patrick Blais, director and senior investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management.
“Overall, earnings are definitely surprising to the upside and impacting the market positively.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE nudged up 2.44 points, or 0.02 percent to 12,602.18.
This was the index’s highest finish since early March. Six of the index’s 10 main groups, however, were in negative territory. The index rose 0.48 percent for the week.
“The markets have come out of the gates pretty good this year and I think investors are having a really hard time identifying where the new leadership is going to come from,” said Mike Newton, associate director and portfolio manager at Macquarie Private Wealth Inc.
Volatile RIM shares jumped 12.9 percent to finish at C$13.31, after trading lower early in the session. Investors were positioning themselves ahead of the BlackBerry maker’s new smartphones set to launch at the end of the month, analysts said.
Several blog posts published on Friday showed what could be the new BlackBerry 10. A spokesman for SprintNextel said it plans to bring BlackBerry 10 to its customers later this year.
Copper prices eased from a one-week high amid uncertainty about the demand outlook for industrial metals, especially out of China. Diversified mining firm Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO was the biggest drag, retreating 2.12 percent to C$36.93. The overall materials group, home to mining firms, was down 0.27 percent.<MET/L>
Gold miners tracked bullion prices that fell 1 percent following their biggest one-day rise this year. Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) fell 1.17 percent to C$36.25, while Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) closed down 0.68 percent to C$33.72. <GOL/>
The energy sector gave back a modest 0.03 percent amid mixed trading. Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO climbed 4.31 percent to C12.10, while Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO) fell 1.62 percent to C$29.22.
Wells Fargo, the first major U.S. bank to post earnings, reported declining net interest margins even as it posted a record fourth-quarter profit.
“It’s very difficult for the banking system to manage their interest rate earnings in this type of environment ... we expect more pressure going forward,” said Blais, adding that pressure was expected to ease toward the latter half of 2013, as interest rates begin to rise.
The TSX’s heavily weighted financial group finished 0.03 percent lower. The Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) slipped 0.30 percent to C$81.82.
Editing by Carol Bishopric