TSX edge higher on Europe relief, RIM

Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:13pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended slightly higher on Thursday as stronger miners and financials offset weak energy shares, and as Research In Motion RIM.TO rose on market speculation the BlackBerry maker had hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to explore strategic options.

Markets were relieved after Spain sold twice as much three-year debt as it needed and Italy paid less than it did a month ago on one-year securities at the countries' first auctions of 2012 as cheap money lent to banks by the ECB in December fueled demand for shorter-term debt. <GVD/EUR>

The news helped to boost financials and commodities, including base metals and gold, though energy shares were later hit by falling oil and gas prices. <MET/L> <GOL/> <O/R> <NGA/CAN>

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 13.38 pts, or 0.11 percent, at 12,274.32, its second straight day of gains in a very narrow range.

Among the most influential gainers, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) climbed 0.9 percent to C$77.70, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) rose 1.1 percent to C$52.20, Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) added 1.5 percent to C$46.78 and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote) advanced 4 percent to C$23.30.

"You had quite successful bond auctions both in Italy and in Spain, where the yields were below previous auctions, number one, and secondly the bonds were oversubscribed several times, so you had very healthy demand and at lower yields," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

"So that provides a little better environment and takes a little pressure off the whole sovereign debt crisis that we're all so familiar with."

Markets also reacted positively to comments by the president of European Central Bank and lower inflation data in China, raising hopes of a shift toward easing policy and supporting growth.   Continued...