CANADA STOCKS-Toronto flat as financials, commodities offset

Tue Feb 3, 2009 5:07pm EST
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* TSX ekes out gain; reverses 3-day streak in the red

* Financials rebound on optimism over U.S. home sales data (Adds details, quote)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index eked out a small gain on Tuesday, ending a three-session streak in negative territory, as a rise in financials on hopes generated by U.S. home sales data offset commodity stock weakness.

But it was a largely directionless day that saw the index trade in a 123-point range from trough to peak.

About an hour before the session ended, the big financial services sector gained momentum, tracking optimism in the U.S. over a surprise jump in December pending home sales.

A report there showed buyers were lured back into the market by lower prices and mortgage rates. [ID:nN03524582] The sector finished up 0.7 percent.

"The home sales is a very important number because the thing is that's sort of where the problem really originated," said Robert A. Floyd, president R.A. Floyd Capital Management Inc.

"If we're starting to see a little bit of strength there it's a little encouraging because that's the one area where we really have to see a turnaround occur for this marketplace to get better."   Continued...