TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced marginally on Thursday, with overall gains limited by declines in energy and some financial shares, as the boost provided by a more dovish U.S. Federal Reserve tone was undercut by concern over the Greek debt crisis.
Investors worried about possibly drastic effects as the Fed raises interest rates took comfort in the central bank's latest view of the U.S. economy, which hints at a slower pace of rate hikes.
"Equities seem to be taking some comfort from the Fed announcement, however the benefits are not as far-reaching as domestic investors would like with the TSX trailing the U.S. today," said Shailesh Kshatriya, director of Canadian strategies at Russell Investments.
The three main U.S. indexes gained at least 1 percent each, with the Nasdaq closing at a record high. [.N]
Meanwhile expectations were low that Greece and its creditors will reach a deal to prevent the debt-ridden country from defaulting at the end of June.
"Those seem to be the two things that are playing out here," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. "We still have to wait another month or so before earnings."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 37.66 points, or 0.26 percent, at
14,770.64. Seven of the ten main sectors gained.
"Even with crude oil stable to slightly higher, the energy sector is off and restraining the market overall," Russell's Kshatriya said.
Seven of the 10 biggest drags on the index were either energy or financial stocks, while technology names also slipped.
The index's energy sector was off 0.5 percent while info tech fell 0.6 percent. Financials were down 0.1 percent.
The mining-heavy materials group was up 0.8 percent, with Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) rising 1.8 percent to C$20.73 and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) up 1.3 percent at C$14.31. The gold miners got a boost from more expensive bullion, which rallied on the Fed comments. [GOL/]
Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway and Meredith Mazzilli