TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday after shares of natural resource companies benefited from positive data out of China, but declines in the price of gold and oil capped those gains.
But fears about military action in Syria and concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve might soon begin dialing back its stimulus measures continued to unnerve investors.
“It’s a muted rally. We really haven’t got the lift from the Chinese export news that one would have expected,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. “There’s too much uncertainty for investors to jump into volatile groups like energy and commodities.”
“Investors are hoping that any fallout from the (Syrian) conflict wouldn’t be too severe and it would be contained.”
Data showed Chinese export growth topped expectations in August.
Despite the export-focused Canadian market’s exposure to the Chinese economy, a major consumer of commodities, the TSX underperformed the S&P 500 .SPX on Monday.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s and S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 33.72 points, or 0.26 percent, at 12,854.64.
Among the top gainers, fertilizer maker Potash Corp (POT.TO) added 4.8 percent closing at C$32.90 on market speculation that a dispute with Russia that split the Belarus potash consortium may be resolved. In turn, that could herald higher potash prices.
“The rebound (in Potash Corp) may be a reflection of people thinking that the Russians may not engage in a price war,” said Gavin Graham, chief strategy officer at Integris Pension Management Corp.
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, climbed 0.5 percent, with gains in Potash offsetting a drop in gold producers.
After a bid by Gabriel Resources Ltd (GBU.TO) to open Europe’s biggest open-cast gold mine in Romania looked set to be rejected due to mounting opposition, shares of the miner slumped by around 54 percent to 68 Canadian cents.
Shares of energy companies added 0.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) rose 0.3 percent to C$36.79.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, gained 0.1 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was up 0.2 percent at C$91.36, and Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO) added 0.4 percent to C$33.12.
BlackBerry advanced to C$11.96, pushing the information technology sector up 1.4 percent.
In other company news, Oncolytics Biotech Inc ONC.TO said its cancer drug Reolysin reduced the size of tumors in 92 percent of lung cancer patients in a mid-stage trial. The stock jumped 12 percent to C$3.09.
Editing by Peter Galloway and Diane Craft