CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as investors eye Yellen comment
* TSX up 16.94 points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,673.34 * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance * Linamar jumps more than 13 percent after results * Valeant, Telus, SNC-Lavalin climb after quarterly reports By John Tilak TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday, with gains in financials offset by weaker energy shares as investors focused on congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Earnings reports provided support, but weakness in commodity prices helped keep the index's gains in check. Yellen said on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank will continue to provide a high degree of monetary policy accommodation, while citing geopolitical turmoil and weak housing data as risks to the U.S. economy. She began testifying before the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, and investors were set to search for clues on when the Fed might begin raising interest rates. "You expect her to continue to keep the comments dovish even while they're going on with their tapering," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "The Fed doesn't want to go too hawkish on the rhetoric because that could spook the stock markets." Cieszynski said he did not expect any new insights from Thursday's testimony and noted that interest rates were not likely to rise until the middle of next year. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 16.94 points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,673.34. It is up about 7.7 percent this year. "Commodities are going to be choppy in the short term, but in the longer term the prospects for commodities and the TSX are pretty good," Cieszynski said. The benchmark index will benefit from an acceleration of growth in the Canadian and U.S. economies, as well as a rebound in demand for natural resources, he said. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose 0.2 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada gaining 0.5 percent to C$73.45. With the price of oil slipping, energy shares gave back 0.8 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 1.6 percent to C$43.77, and Suncor Energy Inc slipped 0.5 percent to C$42.92. Several earnings reports rolled in. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc reported a 35 percent jump in cash earnings, helped by robust drug sales in the United States and in its Bausch & Lomb eyecare business. The stock added 1 percent to C$146.44. Telus Corp was up 0.3 percent at C$39.57 after the telecommunications company posted a higher quarterly profit. SNC-Lavalin Group Inc reported quarterly earnings that exceeded expectations and raised its 2014 forecast. Shares of the engineering and construction company advanced 3 percent to C$53.16. Linamar Corp shot up 13.4 percent to C$59.65 after the auto parts maker reported results late on Wednesday. The stock was the biggest percentage gainer on the index. ($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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