January 19, 2015 / 1:42 PM / 3 years ago

TSX steady as energy shares drop, other sectors gain

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

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Monday as a decline in oil and gas stocks, fueled by lower crude prices, offset gains in other sectors.

The plunge in oil prices over the past six months, triggered by worries about excess supply, has been the biggest drag on both energy shares and Canada's benchmark equities index. The TSX is down about 2.5 percent this year.

Oil prices dropped below the $50 mark on Monday on concerns about China’s economic growth, and they have lost about 55 percent of their value since June.

The Chinese premier said the country’s economy faces significant downward pressure this year. Investors were also awaiting China's fourth-quarter gross domestic product report, due on Tuesday.

“The market is poised at an inflection point. The question is, is there some value here?” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

He said he has been advising clients to selectively buy quality energy stocks but avoid speculative bets.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 3.09 points, or 0.02 percent, at 14,312.50. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Shares of energy producers dropped 1.6 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) shed 3.1 percent to C$34.41, and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) lost 1.3 percent to C$35.55.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed, with Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) advancing 0.7 percent to C$50.54 and Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO gaining 0.4 percent to C$75.80.

Editing by Peter Galloway and Lisa Shumaker

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