TSX holds steady; Canadian Natural leads gainers

Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:28am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was little changed in slim dealings on Thursday, a day after the index shed 1 percent in a broad selloff.

Oil company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO: Quote) was the gainer most influential on the index, rising 3.1 percent to C$32.85. Brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel raised its rating on Canadian Natural to "buy" from "hold" and said the company was well-positioned for the second half of 2013.

Fellow oil producer Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) rose 2 percent to C$19.89. The overall energy sector was up 0.6 percent.

Investors largely kept to the sidelines after fleeing heavyweight energy, bank and mining stocks on Wednesday. Earlier this week, the TSX touched a 19-month high.

"Toronto continues to lag compared to what's going on down south, at least the Dow and the S&P, which are having another good day," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

"We don't have anything to pick up the slack in Canada ... but it's not vicious like yesterday."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was trading up less than a point at 12,744.57 at mid morning, after seeing its sharpest one-day move in either direction since November in the previous session.

The 10 main groups in the index were evenly split between decliners and advancers.

The financial group, which makes up about a third of the index's weight, was down 0.3 percent, led lower by Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote), which fell 0.7 percent to C$59.67. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was down 0.4 percent at C$61.22.   Continued...

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch