CANADA STOCKS-TSX rally ends, but posts best week this year

Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:45pm EST
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* TSX ends day down 5.51 pts at 12,725.77

* Notches highest weekly gain this year

* Gold sector retreat weighsweigh

* Pending ECB credit easing lifts sentiment

By Jon Cook

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A three-day rally by Canadian stocks fizzled on Friday as a pullback in bullion prices knocked gold miners lower, offsetting a boost from rising oil prices and optimism over a further easing of the European debt crisis.

While Toronto's main stock index ended slightly lower on the day, it still notched its best weekly gain this year, rising more than 2 percent on the strength of a long-awaited Greek debt swap deal and further signs of U.S. economic health.

"We've taken the systemic risk issue off the table, at least in the short term. We have stronger than expected U.S. economic data and we have reasonable evaluations," said Paul Taylor chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management. "Equities trade higher on that."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed down 5.51 points at 12,725.77.   Continued...