September 9, 2014 / 11:29 AM / in 3 years

TSX firm as copper producers slip but energy shares gain

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Tuesday, snapping a three-day losing streak as gains in the heavyweight energy and financial sectors offset shares of commodity producers that were driven lower by weak copper prices.

With the price of copper CMCU3 dropping more than 2 percent, First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO) was among the biggest weights on the TSX, shedding 1.9 percent to C$23.90, while Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO slipped 0.7 percent to C$23.97.

A rebound in the price of U.S. crude CLc1 after recent weakness helped the energy sector .SPTTEN lead the way higher, though crude futures dropped in after-hours trade.

Stocks have been fluctuating in small increments amid a dearth of major economic catalysts, though the index is not far off its record high. Next week, however, investors will be able to assess the impact of the Scottish referendum as well as a policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

“The market has been treading water here. Everybody is a little cautious and traders are afraid of taking bigger positions,” said Marcus Xu, president and portfolio manager at M.Y. Capital Management Corp in Vancouver.

“You’re going to see a little bit more volatility in the second half of the month. With concerns on valuations and interest rates, you don’t want to be too aggressive.”

While Xu is positive on Canadian stocks, he does not expect the TSX to do much between now and the end of the year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 27.42 points, or 0.18 percent, at 15,536.81. Half of the 10 main sectors on the index rose.

While the benchmark TSX is up about 14 percent this year, it had fallen in its previous three sessions.

“There’s some general exhaustion,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets Canada. “(The markets) ran up so much and there hasn’t really been any news to propel them higher, so they’re starting to come back down.”

Among Bay Street’s biggest gainers on Tuesday, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) rose 0.3 percent to C$44.87 and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) added 0.3 percent to C$43.67. The energy sector gained 0.4 percent.

Financials .SPTTFS, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, overcame earlier weakness to rise 0.2 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) gained 0.5 percent to C$81.21 and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) put on 0.5 percent to C$72.20.

Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Gunna Dickson

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