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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index eked out a small gain on Tuesday, with a broad but shallow rally mostly canceled out by resources stocks' retreat amid further oil price slips.
Oil prices fell after the International Energy Agency earlier said global crude supplies could approach record highs, its first slip in four sessions. [O/R]
Among the heavyweights on the index, Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) gave back 2.2 percent to C$38.42, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) lost 2.1 percent to C$38.63, and Crescent Point Energy Corp (CPG.TO) fell 2.6 percent to C$31.70.
"The market is exhausted. We've not seen volatility like this in years, a lot of players haven't seen this ever in their careers," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.
High-yielding names in telecom, banking and utilities were most attractive in the circumstances, he said, adding that Suncor, Crescent Point and Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO) had balance sheets capable of acquiring assets from a struggling junior if the opportunity presented itself.
The weakness in oil offset hopes that negotiations between a new Greek government and the European Union might result in a deal.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 11.82 points, or 0.08 percent, at 15,112.52, though eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were trading higher. The TSX is up 2.5 percent so far this month.
"We've had a good little run. So we've got to do a little backing and filling here," said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management.
"The big swing element is the oil sector. It's quite unpredictable," he added. "People are just not sure what to do with their energy investments."
The gold mining sector fell 1.2 percent, reflecting a weaker bullion price, with Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) slipping 1.7 percent to C$15.30.
The biggest gainers included telecom BCE Inc (BCE.TO), up 1.6 percent at C$55.68, and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO), which gained 1.8 percent to C$236.56. Valeant Pharmaceutical International Inc (VRX.TO) jumped 3.7 percent to C$206.81.
Additional reporting by John Tilak; Editing by Jonathan Oatis