TSX ekes out record close with Barrick's help

Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:51pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged up on Thursday to notch a fresh record high as Barrick Gold Corp jumped on the company's better-than-expected profits, though a drop in shares of Sun Life helped keep overall gains in check.

Despite firmer oil prices, the energy sector .SPTTEN gave up earlier gains to decline 0.2 percent as shares of Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote) fell 0.9 percent to C$55.43 ahead of the company's earnings after the bell.

Enbridge also won U.S. antitrust approval for a merger with Spectra Energy Corp SE.N.

Barrick (ABX.TO: Quote) was the biggest lift on the index, jumping 6.1 percent to C$26.81, the day after the miner announced stronger-than-anticipated profit and a debt reduction plan.

Goldcorp Inc (G.TO: Quote) also drove the market higher as lower costs at its gold mines in the Americas helped its quarterly profit beat expectations. Its stock was up 5.9 percent at C$23.11.

The surge in the shares of the two companies gave the materials sector .GSPTTMT a 0.4 percent lift and sent the gold subindex .SPTTGD up 1.8 percent.

"The earnings I've been seeing for the most part in Canada and the U.S. have been pretty good," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services in Toronto.

"We're seeing companies very disciplined on their costs and being cautiously optimistic for 2017."   Continued...

Passersby watch the performance of stocks on a financial news television screen in the business district of Toronto, Canada, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren