CANADA STOCKS-TSX inches higher despite drop in energy shares

Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:41pm EDT
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* TSX closes up 13.45 points, or 0.11 percent, at 12,436.16
    * Japan central bank stimulus adds to chorus of global
    * Some evidence of corporate resilience helps banks
    * Crude oil price fall hits oil and gas stocks

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
inched higher on Wednesday, helped by  evidence of improving
corporate sentiment and by stimulus measures taken by another
major central bank, but gains were limited by a drop in energy
shares as crude oil prices fell.
    After two days of declines, the index was held in positive
territory by rises in bank and mining stocks, especially gold
producers as bullion hovered near a 6-1/2 month high. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed 13.45 points, or 0.11 percent, higher at
    "The financials, particularly the banks, had a pretty good
day, reflecting broad-based sentiment associated with solid
earnings," said TD Waterhouse's chief portfolio strategist, Bob
Gorman, referring in particular to higher than expected earnings
from widely held U.S. consumer staple stock General Mills and an
increased dividend from Microsoft. 
    Investors also cheered the Bank of Japan's move to ease
monetary policy, which helped boost the price of copper and keep
gold buoyant.
    But the Japanese move didn't aid energy shares.
    Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest integrated
producer, fell 2.1 percent to C$32.83 after crude slipped for a
third day to hit a six-week low on signs that Saudi Arabia would
produce more to dampen prices and on data that showed U.S.
stockpiles rose last week. 
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, the country's
largest independent oil explorer and producer, closed down 2.2
percent at C$32.02.
    The Bank of Japan, faced with weakening exports and a
prolonged slowdown in Chinese growth, eased monetary policy by
boosting its asset-buying program to try to spark growth in the
world's third largest economy. 
    The move, which followed soon after similar steps from the
U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, was also
aimed at encouraging companies to invest cash to expand their
    "Corporations need happy pills to get them to spend that
money," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
"That's what these authorities are trying to create."
    "On balance the market is quiet, people are still trying to
get their bearings," he added. "I still think there is an upward
bias, but we have to be patient."
    Fertilizer company Potash Corp had the biggest
positive effect on the index, adding 2.4 percent to C$42.44,
while Barrick Gold Corp gained 1.6 percent to C$41.65,
and Royal Bank of Canada moved 0.6 percent higher to
    Centerra Gold Inc jumped 16.7 percent to C$11.95
after the miner said it had received permits to restart
operations at a project in Mongolia. 
    Colossus Minerals Inc gained 11.4 percent to C$5.95
after the junior miner said it had reached a $75 million
financing deal with Sandstorm Gold Ltd tied to future
precious metal production, with the proceeds going to the
development of its Serra Pelada mine in Brazil.
    Shares in B2Gold Corp fell 11.9 percent to C$3.79
after the miner said it will buy CGA Mining Ltd for
C$1.1 billion to gain access to its flagship gold mine in the