TSX gains limited by energy fall ahead of Christmas break

Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:45pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index made a slight gain in a shortened session on Thursday as energy stocks pared back the previous day's gains, weighing on a broadly positive but subdued market ahead of the Christmas break.

The exchange will be closed on Friday and Monday.

The energy group, which accounts for almost a fifth of the index's weight, fell 0.7 percent. Oil prices edged higher while remaining near 11-year lows. [O/R]

"Yesterday they had such a big bounce, it was probably slightly overdone," said Patrick Blais, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

Heavyweight oil and gas producer Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) lost 0.8 percent to C$36.89 and Crescent Point Energy Corp (CPG.TO: Quote) fell 1.9 percent to C$16.87.

While the sharp fall in oil since late 2014 and its stubbornly low price through 2015 have hurt Canadian producers, Blais said the worst may have been priced into the sector now and related areas of the economy could feel the pinch next.

"We have some concerns that the Canadian domestic economy will struggle throughout the year, we think there might be some reverberations within secondary sectors, whether it's manufacturing linked to the energy space, or even the consumer as the slowdown out west expands throughout Canada," he said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 24.89 points, or 0.19 percent, at 13,309.80.   Continued...

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