July 24, 2012 / 3:39 PM / in 5 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as fears on Europe offset Rogers earnings

* TSX up 2.69 points at 11,548.23

* Rogers Communications results boost index

* China PMI data lifts mining shares

* Weak euro zone data, Germany fears weigh

By Jon Cook

TORONTO, July 24 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Tuesday as solid earnings from telecoms leader Rogers Communications Inc and upbeat China data were offset by euro zone fears, including a potential credit ratings downgrade for Germany.

Despite a dip by most of Canada’s 10 main sectors, the index hovered near break even. The safe-haven telecommunications sub-index led gains, rising 1.6 percent after earnings from Rogers Communications, Canada’s largest mobile phone company, beat expectations.

Rogers Communications shares jumped 5.4 percent to C$39.25 after it reported higher adjusted earnings on Tuesday as profit margins rose in its cellular phone business even as competition picked up.

“The news story today is Rogers,” said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. “I guess people were expecting them to cut their guidance, and the fact that they had such a material beat maybe tells us that they could have raised their guidance.”

In June, Rogers said it had cut 375 jobs to trim costs amid tough competition. The company employs about 30,000 people.

The Rogers results were also supported by strong second-quarter results from U.S. counterpart AT&T Inc, which reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit due to strength in its wireless business.

The heavily weighted materials group, which includes miners, also rose, gaining 0.6 percent, after China’s flash factory purchasing managers index rose in July to its highest level since February.

Recent numbers have suggested a slowdown in China’s economy, which has dampened demand for metals and hurt Canadian mining companies. On Tuesday that trend reversed.

Gains were led by top gold miners Goldcorp, up 1.2 percent at C$33.89, and Barrick Gold, which climbed 0.4 percent to C$34.27.

Eldorado Gold Corp jumped 4.3 percent to C$10.39 after a Greek court revoked an order that temporarily stopped work at the Canadian company’s gold mining project in the north of Greece, Eldorado said on Tuesday.

Around 11:20 a.m. EDT (1520 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 2.69 points at 11,548.23. The index initially opened down.

Trading remained volatile, however, as a German purchasing managers’ survey showed private sector activity in Europe’s largest economy contracted for a third month. Markit’s composite purchasing managers index slipped to a reading of 47.3 this month from 48.1 in June, the fastest rate of decline since June 2009.

German bond yields were also rising after ratings agency Moody’s revised down its outlook for the country, citing the costs associated with a potential Greek exit from the euro zone and the possible need to provide support to both Spain and Italy.

The Moody’s warning did not faze Schwartz. “Moody’s can say what it wants about Germany,” he said, “but all you have to do is look at the bond yields and the demand for its credit is huge, because everybody else is in the deep dark recesses of an abyss.”

Canadian financials sank 0.3 percent on the euro zone worry, which has escalated on fears that debt-ravaged Spain may require a full blown bailout similar to the ones handed to Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

Toronto-Dominion Bank slid 0.3 percent to C$78.81 and Bank of Nova Scotia slumped 0.4 percent to C$51.20, to lead the sector’s declines.

A day after Nexen Inc’s $15-billion takeover bid by China’s state-owned oil company CNOOC boosted energy shares, Canada’s oil and gas patch fell 0.6 percent on Tuesday.

The biggest decliners included Canadian Natural Resources , down 1.6 percent to C$28.32, Cenovus Energy, which fell 1.2 percent to C$32.85, and Encana Corp, off 1.7 percent at C$21.16.

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