TSX gains as resources stocks rise; Cameco sinks

Wed Feb 1, 2017 5:05pm EST
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index eked out a small gain on Wednesday as miners and energy stocks rose with higher prices for oil and some base metals, while nuclear producer Cameco Corp sank on news of a scrapped contract.

The move broke a four-day fall for the index that saw it notch its lowest close this year on Tuesday, after coming within striking distance of an all-time high.

"I think that we're groping our way through, trying to decide whether the market wants to go higher or if we've reached a short-term pause point," said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments, adding that he thinks a pause more likely.

"The market now needs to see more clarity," particularly around the economic policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, Hutcheon said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index settled up 16.43 points, or 0.11 percent, at 15,402.39. Advancers outnumbered decliners by a 1.4-to-1 ratio.

Its materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, gained 1 percent, with diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd up 3.8 percent and First Quantum Minerals Ltd adding 2.7 percent to C$16.86.

Hutcheon ascribed those gains to some investors betting on a strong U.S. fiscal spending plan that cranks up demand for basic materials.

"If people start to believe those things are going to happen they're going to buy the stocks in anticipation," he said.   Continued...

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