TSX steady as banks offset U.S. budget fears

Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:26pm EDT
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Friday as gains in the financial sector helped offset concerns about the U.S. budget crisis, but it posted a modest weekly gain.

Investors also followed shares of BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO: Quote), which climbed after the smartphone maker reported quarterly results.

Also offering some support to the market, data showed higher U.S. household spending in August as incomes benefited from wage gains. But investors continued to fret over tenuous debt and budget negotiations in the U.S. Congress, as they have all week.

The worries about a possible U.S. government shutdown if the negotiations don't succeed turned out to be a boon to the price of bullion, however, as gold is seen as a safe-haven asset in difficult times, though gold-mining stocks gave up most of their strong early gains.

The benchmark Canadian index, which is up nearly 6 percent this quarter, outperformed the S&P 500 .SPX on Friday. It advanced 0.3 percent on the week.

The TSX could climb further in the coming months as commodity prices start to become less volatile, said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a unit of Richardson GMP.

"The fact that we're seeing stability in gold and silver definitely helps the TSX," he added. "Emerging markets seem to have stabilized a bit, so that may create a more attractive investment landscape for the Canadian market."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 2.46 points, 0.02 percent, at 12,844.08. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.   Continued...

A sign shows TSX information in Toronto September 15, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch