TSX steady after economic data, records monthly gain

Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:35pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Friday as data showing economic growth in North America helped drive gains in the energy sector, while gold-mining shares were dragged down by a weaker gold price.

The TSX, nevertheless, recorded its strongest monthly gain since October, rising 3.8 percent in February.

The Toronto market has outperformed the S&P 500 .SPX so far this year, rising about 4.3 percent, following a selloff in January triggered by concerns about emerging market growth.

Government data released on Friday showed that Canadian economic growth beat market expectations in the fourth quarter of 2013. In the United States, data indicated the world's biggest economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter.

"I think the market is going higher here," said Marcus Xu, portfolio manager at MY Capital Management Corp in Vancouver. "The bull market is still intact, the trend is still there."

"This year is going to be very volatile," added Xu, who expects the benchmark Canadian index to climb about 8 percent in 2014.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 5.15 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,209.59. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.

Gold-mining shares dropped 1.1 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) declining 2 percent to C$22.56. The price of spot gold fell 0.5 percent on Friday.   Continued...

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