TSX steady after ECB comments, SNC decline

Thu Nov 6, 2014 4:53pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday as comments from the European Central Bank helped offset weakness in shares of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO: Quote) after the engineering and construction company cut its profit outlook.

SNC trimmed its full-year earnings forecast and said it was cutting its workforce by 9 percent. Its shares dropped 8.1 percent.

Investors were encouraged as the European Central Bank indicated a willingness to unveil more stimulus measures if needed.

The benchmark TSX, which has swung both ways in the past few weeks, is down about 7 percent since hitting a record high in September.

Energy shares have tumbled with commodity prices in recent months, but they managed to shrug off a lower oil price on Thursday.

“We’re seeing a lot more dispersion in the marketplace,” said Ben Jang, a portfolio manager who helps oversee about C$2.5 billion in assets at Nicola Wealth Management.

“The supply-demand imbalance will continue to place pressure on oil prices,” he added. “There’s going to be a lot more volatility in oil prices. There’s low visibility overall.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 15.12 points, or 0.1 percent, at 14,563.38. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.   Continued...

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch