CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat amid low volumes, U.S. market closed Tues

Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:31pm EDT
 
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* TSX up 12.45 points, or 0.10 percent, at 12,312.75
    * Energy up 0.33 pct, resources up 0.23 pct financials down
0.41 pct
    * Volumes low, with 77.74 million shares changing hands
    * Progress Energy jumps 7.9 pct as takeover bid extended

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
finished little changed on Monday, with advances in energy and
materials stocks offsetting a retreat in financial shares, but
volumes were extremely low as the massive Hurricane Sandy bore
down on the U.S. East Coast and closed U.S. stock markets.
    Monday's closure was the stock market's first
weather-related close in 27 years and will remain closed on
Tuesday. 
    Energy stocks were up 0.33 percent, partially tracking
firmer heating oil futures, as dealers hedged against the risk
of power outages and flooding from Sandy that could damage
refineries and keep production shut for weeks.
  
    Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy could be the largest storm
ever to hit the North American mainland, with fifty million
people from the Mid-Atlantic to Canada in its path.
 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 finished up 12.45 points, or 0.10 percent, at
12,312.75. Volume was a sparse 77.74 million, versus the 356.4
million daily average in September, the last complete month of
statistics provided by the exchange.
    "We're not going to take any leadership until the U.S.
markets opens again," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at
Stenner Investment Partners of Richardson GMP, adding that
investors will take their next cues from Europe and Asia
overnight in light of Tuesday's U.S. equity market closure.
    "It's hard to read too much into the price action today just
based on no liquidity from the U.S."
    The scant volume resulted in disproportionate swings in the
index on Monday. Seven of the index's 10 main groups were
higher.
    Energy shares were also buoyed by news that Malaysian state
oil company Petronas has extended the closing date on its bid
for Progress Energy Resources Corp until Nov. 30, as it
works to overturn the Canadian government's rejection of the
proposed C$5.17 billion ($5.18 billion) deal. 
    The shares of the Canadian gas producer jumped 7.9 percent
to C$19.81. Fellow takeover target Nexen Inc surged
5.41 percent to finish at 24.53. Nexen is the focus of a $15.1
billion takeover bid by China's CNOOC Ltd.
    TransCanada Corp was also among the most
influential stocks in a quiet session, with shares up 1.13
percent to C$44.90. 
    Canada's largest pipeline company said it will build a C$3
billion ($3.01 billion) pipeline in northern Alberta with
privately held Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd to transport crude
from the Athabasca oil sands. 
    Goldcorp Inc gave the index its biggest lift, rising
2.10 percent to C$44.65, while Barrick Gold Corp rose
1.23 percent to C$39.60. The overall materials group, home to
mining companies, gained 0.23 percent.
    Weighing on the index was a 0.41 percent retreat in
financials, led by Royal Bank of Canada, which shed 0.84
percent to C$56.35. Toronto Dominion Bank followed,
declining 0.60 percent to C$80.68. Manulife Financial Corp
 gave back 1.30 percent to 12.14.