CANADA STOCKS-TSX gets boost from financials but oils drag

Mon Feb 7, 2011 5:44pm EST
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   * TSX up 20.08 points, or 0.15 pct, at 13,811.93
 * Seven of the 10 main groups finish higher
 * Financials up 0.38 pct, energy down 0.3 pct
 (Adds details, comments)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed modestly higher on Monday as financial issues gained on
increased confidence in the economic recovery, but energy
shares dropped as oil prices eased.
 Among financials, Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) was up 1.65
percent at C$19.15, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) rose 1.02
percent to C$59.50, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) advanced
0.53 percent to C$58.60.
 "The insurance companies look great ... not only
valuations. The things that really hurt them were the falling
interest rates and falling stock market and both of those have
reversed course, so I think the outlook looks quite good. I
also think they're underowned," said Ian Nakamoto, director of
research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
 The financials group, which makes up nearly 30 percent of
the index, rose 0.38 percent, its fifth rise in the past six
 "It seems the financial side of the equation is continuing
on its recent strength. It's driven on global positive
sentiment ... worldwide positive growth," said Francis Campeau,
a broker at MF Global Canada.
 Data in January showed signs that the economic recovery was
gathering steam, particularly in the United States, which has
encouraged stock markets higher. In New York, the S&P 500 and
the Dow Jones industrial average both hit 2-1/2 year highs on
 The Toronto Stock Exchange S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE rose 20.08 points, or 0.15 percent, to finish the day
at 13,811.93.
 Seven of the index's 10 main sectors finished higher.
Technology stocks gained 0.7 percent. Other gainers included
the materials group, home to mining companies, which was up
0.42 percent.
 Fertilizer giants Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) and Agrium Inc
(AGU.TO: Quote) both helped pull the materials group higher. Potash
was the biggest blue chip gainer, rising 1.51 percent to
C$181.87. Agrium, which will report quarterly earnings on
Wednesday, rose 2.22 percent to C$92.51.
 "I think the agricultural stocks are going to be better
than the base metals and the golds. Potash prices have recently
moved up ... fertilizer prices, percentagewise, are going to go
up more than the base metals," said Nakamoto.
 "(Food) demand is very strong, and supply is weak at best
because of the various weather conditions out there."
 Oil and gas stocks dropped 0.3 percent.
 Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) fell 1.35 percent to C$44.58, while
Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) slipped 0.54 percent to C$40.39.
 Crude prices fell as concerns eased over Egypt's political
crisis and how it might affect oil flows in the Middle East.
Rising U.S. inventories also weighed. [O/R]
 "Turbulence fading off in Egypt and warmer weather expected
is bringing both oil and natgas prices down," Campeau said.
 In individual company news, US Gold Corp UXG.TO rose 2.77
percent to C$7.04 after it said results from a preliminary
economic assessment of its El Gallo gold-silver project in
Mexico were encouraging. [ID:nN07224451]
 Crystallex International KRY.TO finished down 39 percent
at 14 Canadian cents after sinking as much as 56 percent. The
gold miner took a big hit after after the Venezuelan government
withdrew a permit allowing the miner to develop the Las
Cristinas project. [ID:nN07202465]
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)