CANADA STOCKS-TSX makes modest gains on stronger banks; posts weekly loss

Fri Aug 2, 2013 4:50pm EDT
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* TSX rises 9.29 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,603.25
    * Six of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Index records 0.4 percent weekly drop
    * SNC Lavalin drops 6 percent after results
    * Turquoise Hill jumps nearly 9 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
slightly on Friday as disappointment following a
weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report was offset by gains in the
financial sector, but it ended the week lower.
    The market was also weighed by a 6 percent decline in SNC
Lavalin Group Ltd after the engineering and
construction company reported a quarterly net loss and lowered
its financial forecasts for the year, hit by charges taken on
projects in two North African countries. 
    Data showed a slower pace of hiring by U.S. employers in
July but a fall in the jobless rate, conflicting signals that
could make the Federal Reserve cautious about drawing down its
huge economic stimulus program. 
    One could call it "the Goldilocks number," said Allan Small,
senior investment advisor at Dundee Wealth. "It's not too hot,
not too cold, but just right.
    "The Fed may still begin tapering in September, but now it's
not so much a foregone conclusion," he added, referring to the
U.S. central bank's withdrawal of economic stimulus.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 9.29 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,603.25. 
    The Canadian market, which shed 0.4 percent this week, has
sharply lagged U.S. stocks this year.
    Investors are very negative about Canadian equities in
general, and commodities and precious metals in particular,
Small said.
    Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were lower.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave up
early gains to fall 0.8 percent. Gold miners were down 1.5
    Barrick Gold Corp slipped 0.5 percent to C$17.37
and Goldcorp Inc lost 1.4 percent to C$27.99.
    But financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
gained 0.4 percent.
    Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest lender,
advanced 0.8 percent to C$64.43, and Toronto Dominion Bank
 rose 0.7 percent to C$87.37.
    Shares of Turquoise Hill, owned by Rio Tinto
, shot up 8.7 percent to C$5 after Mongolia's prime
minister said Rio Tinto need not seek parliamentary approval for
a $4 billion financing package to fund development of an
underground mine at the Oyu Tolgoi copper project.