CANADA STOCKS-TSX rallies, but Europe uncertainty weighs
* TSX up 54.69 pts, or 0.5 pct, to 11,551.99 * Financials, materials lead gains * Energy shares hurt by soft U.S. retail data * Thin trade ahead of Greek elections By Jon Cook TORONTO, June 13 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index staged a modest rally on Wednesday, led by financial and mining shares, reversing earlier losses spurred by soft U.S. retail data and worries about Europe's debt crisis ahead of this weekend's Greek elections. Global stocks were mixed while the dollar edged lower on Wednesday as weak U.S. economic data and a still simmering European debt crisis weighed on sentiment and pushed investors into safe-haven debt. Markets are expected to remain choppy ahead of a Greek vote on Sunday and on fears that Spain's financing problems may spread to Italy. The question of whether Greece will remain in the euro zone after the election and the potential impact of Europe's woes on global economic growth also weighed on stocks. "This thing in Europe has got everybody pretty much on the sidelines right now," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd. "The financials are having a bit of a better day and that's from an oversold position." Canadian stocks appeared to shrug off immediate concerns about Europe. The financial group led the way, rising 1.1 percent as investors considered Canada's generally conservative banks a good hedge against the broader global economic uncertainty. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest lender, rose 1.4 percent to C$51.22 and Toronto-Dominion Bank, the second largest, also climbed 1.4 percent to C$79.21. Bank of Nova Scotia shares were up 1.2 percent at C$52.22 after the head of the bank's global wealth management division said on Wednesday it has no plans now to tamper with its 36 percent equity stake in Canadian mutual fund company CI Financial Corp, but it might consider raising its stake if the opportunity arises. The battered materials group, which includes gold and base metals miners, edged up 0.7 percent. The most influential gainers included Goldcorp Inc, up 1.9 percent to C$41.24, Teck Resources, which rose 4.2 percent to C$32.72, and First Quantum Minerals, up 6 percent at C$18.57. Around 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 54.69 points, or 0.5 percent, to 11,551.99. It had rebounded nearly 100 points after hitting a session low at 11,440.36. Losses were sharpest among energy names, which slid 0.3 percent. Oil and gas shares remained down despite U.S. crude oil turning positive on the back of strong gasoline draws and higher refinery utilisation rates in the United States. Oil prices initially sank after U.S. data showed retail sales fell for a second straight month in May. Declines were led by Bonavista Energy Corp, which tumbled nearly 7 percent to C$14.39 and Penn West Petroleum Ltd , down 2 percent to C$13.53. Enerplus Corp shares fell 2.6 percent to C$13.17 after the oil and gas producer said on Tuesday it will cut its monthly dividend by half as it looks to cope with weak commodity prices. Canadian oil and gas shares, which comprise about 25 percent of the TSX index, have been hurt by a reduction in foreign investment as oil prices have come down from earlier-year highs, said Marc-Andre Robitaille, president and portfolio manager at Robitaille Asset Management in Montreal. "There's less demand coming from outside to push the price up on our stocks," said Robitaille. In other company news, Dollarama Inc shares surged 6.6 percent to C$60.64 after Canada's largest dollar-store chain reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit and announced a stock repurchase plan on Wednesday.
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