TSX ends flat as Greek worries offset energy gains
By Jon Cook
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian stocks ended little changed on Wednesday as fears of oil supply disruptions and some encouraging U.S. economic data boosted energy issues, but the gains were limited by reports that Greece's debt bailout may be delayed.
Oil and gas producers kept Toronto's main index in positive territory, rising 0.5 percent after Brent crude hit a six-month high near $120 a barrel on concern about reduced supplies from Iran, other Middle East producers and Africa.
Talisman Energy TLM.TO led the sector's gains, jumping nearly 5 percent to C$13.13 after the independent oil explorer said it would cut spending in its largest shale gas production zone to cope with depressed natural gas prices.
Gainers were tempered by Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO: Quote), whose shares slipped 1.3 percent to C$38.08 after its fourth quarter profit failed to match expectations and it again extended the search of a joint-venture partner for a northern Alberta oil sand project.
Overall gains were sparse as doubts re-emerged about Greece's long-awaited second bailout after a report that euro zone officials were considering delaying the rescue package until after Greece holds elections in April. <MKTS/GLOB>
The new doubts offset better than expected GDP data from Germany and France and comments by China's central bank governor that the world's No. 2 economy would play a bigger role in solving Europe's debt problems.
"If they can just improve it from being a crisis situation to a chronic condition, that would be tremendous progress," said Stephen Wood, chief investment strategist for North America at Russell Investments in New York.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up just 7.56 points, or 0.1 percent, at 12,362.03 in thin trade. Continued...