CANADA STOCKS-TSX pares losses as oil prices rally
* TSX down 32.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,838.49 * Index touches 2012 low at 11,785.74 * Materials lead losses; financials flat * Greek, French election results weigh By Jon Cook TORONTO, May 7 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks largely shrugged off early losses on Monday as financial shares rose and oil prices steadied after Greek and French election results rattled investors. The outcome of the weekend elections heightened the uncertainty of the path through the euro zone debt crisis but most markets, apart from Greece, shrugged off the news. The votes were largely viewed as a rejection of painful austerity measures seen, by some, as key to tackle the euro zone's debt woes. Not all observers, however, were pessimistic. "It's not necessarily a bad thing," said Pat McHugh, Canadian equity strategist at Manulife Asset Management. "There are a number of people who have been saying that austerity measures aren't working because of the nature of the crisis and the fact that short-term interest rates are so low everywhere that we have to bring in some packages that are growth oriented." Oil prices rebounded after hitting multi-month lows, helping Canadian energy firms trim losses to sit down 0.5 percent. Materials issues, down 1.1 percent, also strengthened as copper bounced back from a near two-week low and gold prices eased. Energy losses were led by Nexen, down 3.1 percent to C$17.23, Penn West Petroleum, off 3.8 percent to C$15.05, and Enbridge Inc, which slipped 0.6 percent to C$39.74. TransGlobe Energy Corp fell nearly 9 percent to C$12.03 as crude prices slid despite the oil and gas company reporting that quarterly profit rose nearly four times. Among material stocks, the most influential decliners included top fertilizer producer Potash Corp, down 1 percent to C$41.91, Eldorado Gold, down 3 percent to C$12.76 and Goldcorp Inc, taking off 1.4 percent to C$35.91. Inmet Mining Corp fell 7.1 percent to C$46.67 after the Toronto-based miner on Monday raised projected development costs for its Cobre Panama copper project in Central America by more than 25 percent to $6.2 billion. Around 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 32.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,838.49. It had touched a 2012 low at 11,785.74. Positive Canadian housing data helped pare some losses. Statistics Canada said the value of building permits rose by 4.7 percent in March, beating the average forecast of a 2.8 percent drop. Despite the uncertainty in Europe, financial shares edged up 0.1 percent as Canada's major banks performed well. Bank of Nova Scotia led the sector's slight gains, up 0.7 percent to C$53.14. "The Canadian banks are always perceived as a relative safe haven and that perception gets magnified when we have problems on the other side of the Atlantic," said Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital Markets. In other news, Thompson Creek Metals slid more than 13 percent to C$4.77 after the molybdenum miner said it plans to raise up to $430 million to help develop the Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia. Toronto-listed shares of the Denver-based company have fallen some 33 percent this year.
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