CANADA STOCKS-TSX dips as weak energy offsets Potash, Magna gain

Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:26pm EDT
 
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* TSX down 3.9 points, or 0.03 percent at 11,854.24
    * Energy stocks weigh on more weak China data
    * Potash Corp gains as corn reaches record high
    * Magna climbs on strong earnings

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Friday, as a drop in energy shares prompted by
soft Chinese economic data was offset by gains in auto parts
maker Magna International Inc and Potash Corp of
Saskatchewan.
    But the index was still on track for its biggest weekly gain
since late May after prices rallied on hopes of more stimulus
from major central banks.
    Energy stocks were by far the biggest drag on the index on
Friday, dropping 0.8 percent, as oil prices fell on data showing
China's total exports grew less than forecast and its crude oil
imports fell in July. Weaker global oil demand forecasts from
the International Energy Agency also weighed. 
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, down 1.75 percent
to C$30.84, and Suncor Energy Inc, down 0.94 percent to
C$31.57, played the biggest role of any two stocks in weighing
on the market.
    "The overnight news coming out of China, the disappointing
export numbers, that has an impact, the Canadian employment
numbers also has an impact," said Carlos Leitao, chief economist
at Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal. "But with all that
you'd think the impact would be bigger." 
    Canada's economy unexpectedly lost 30,400 jobs in July in a
third disappointing month for the labor market, indicating tepid
growth that will likely keep the central bank on the sidelines
for longer. 
    By 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index was down 3.9 points, or 0.03 percent,
at 11,854.24. It has recorded a gain of 1.6 percent so far this
week.
    Stocks that helped keep the index buoyant included
fertilizer company Potash Corp. It jumped 1.2 percent to C$43.22
as corn futures set an all-time high after the U.S. government
slashed the size of the crop in the world's top grain
exporter. 
    Auto parts manufacturer Magna International rose 4.6
percent to C$43.73 after reporting a sharp jump in profit and
saying it would buy a controlling stake in an electric car
business. 
    Canadian stocks had followed other global stocks higher
earlier in the week as investors hoped for more central bank
action in Europe, while some investors also bet on further
monetary easing in China, the world's second largest economy. 
    But a big undershoot in China's July exports soured the mood
for the resource-heavy Toronto index on Friday, as concern about
slower commodity demand offset hopes for stimulus measures.
 
    "Equity markets are perhaps putting too much weight, too
much emphasis on salvation by the central banks," Leitao said.