CANADA STOCKS-TSX fluctuates as Ukraine fears weigh, miners gain

Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:13am EDT
 
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* TSX up 6.38 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,308.44
    * Five of 10 main index sectors advance
    * CP Rail slips after share buyback plan

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 11 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed in choppy trading on Tuesday as concerns about
the crisis in Ukraine were offset by a jump in gold-mining
shares after the price of bullion gained.
    Ukraine's interim leaders formed a new National Guard and
appealed to the United States and Britain for assistance against
what they called Russian aggression in Crimea. 
    Those worries sent investors scurrying for safety in
commodities such as bullion, which climbed and helped send
shares of gold producers higher.
    Gains in the gold-mining sector, which is up about 29
percent this year, have fueled the broader Canadian market in
recent weeks. The benchmark index has gained about 5 percent in
2014, outperforming the S&P 500, but that has some
investors concerned about a potential market pullback. 
    "North American equity markets are looking a bit extended,"
said Stan Wong, director of wealth management and portfolio
manager at Scotia McLeod. "I wouldn't be surprised if we took a
pause here.
    "The upcoming referendum in Crimea will undoubtedly (raise)
some investor anxiety about geopolitical tensions in that
region."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 6.38 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,308.44.
Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    "Markets in general are not cheap," Wong said. "At this
point it's a stock picker's market, and we will need more data
towards continued economic growth to push equity markets to
higher highs."
    His top picks include Baytex Energy Co, Telus Corp
 and Manulife Financial Corp.
    Goldcorp Inc jumped 1 percent to C$29.87, and Barrick
Gold Corp climbed 0.6 percent to C$22.02. Those moves
pushed the gold-mining sector up more than 1 percent.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added
0.2 percent, with Toronto Dominion Bank rising 0.6
percent to C$51.32 and Bank of Montreal advancing 0.6
percent to C$72.80.
    In corporate news, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd said
it planned to buy back up to 5.3 million shares over the next
year. 
    The stock slipped 1.2 percent to C$169.27, weighing on the
broader industrial sector.