CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as Ukraine fears subside; oil shares fall

Wed Mar 5, 2014 10:53am EST
 
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* TSX rises 10.08 points, or 0.07 percent, to 14,299.94
    * Five of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Falling oil price weighs on energy shares

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 5 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Wednesday, with gains in financials offset by
weakness in energy shares, as tensions over Ukraine eased with
the prospect of dialogue between the United States and Russia on
the crisis.
    The two world powers will hold talks on Ukraine on Wednesday
as the West tries to persuade Moscow to pull its forces back to
base in Crimea and avert the risk of a war. 
    Investors also digested news that the Bank of Canada had
left its benchmark interest rate unchanged but continued to
express concern about weak inflation. 
    "The situation in Ukraine is still a fluid one and likely to
continue to cause volatility," said Shailesh Kshatriya,
associate director for client investment strategies at Russell
Investments Canada. "That will continue to impact market
psyche."
    Kshatriya sees more choppiness in store for the Toronto
stock market, whose benchmark index is up nearly 5 percent this
year on gains in its materials and energy sectors.
    "We think the TSX will finish higher than we initially
thought, though we question the sustainability of the recent
move," he said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 10.08 points, or 0.07 percent, at 14,299.94.
Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
climbed 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.8
percent to C$72.43, and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.9
percent to C$63.66.
    Gold-mining stocks also advanced, with Goldcorp Inc 
gaining 0.7 percent to C$30.23 and Barrick Gold Corp 
adding 0.5 percent to C$22.74. 
    A decline in the price of oil weighed on shares of energy
producers. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd 
lost 0.3 percent to C$40.81.