CANADA STOCKS-TSX pushes higher on Greek optimism
* TSX up 12.09 points, or 0.11 percent, at 11,286.33
* Talk of help for Greece helps banks pull index from loss
* Bernanke lays out path for policy changes (Adds details, quote)
TORONTO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index edged higher on Wednesday as financials were helped by hopes that a resolution to Greece's debt woes was near, but resource stocks were pressured by volatile commodity prices.
The heavily weighted TSX financials sector gained 1.3 percent as investors closed out short positions in expectation of a market rally if a European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday comes up with a deal to alleviate Greece's debt problems.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) rose 1.8 percent to C$54.75, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) climbed 1.3 percent to C$64.43.
European debt concerns have prompted a steep sell-off in global equity markets in recent sessions, but have reversed this week on reports that euro zone governments will unveil an aid plan. [ID:nLDE6192QE].
"Certainly, the Greece debt situation is a big factor on investors' minds... We've seen over the past few days, investors have been swinging between optimism and pessimism as far as that situation is concerned," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 12.09 points, or 0.11 percent, at 11,286.33. Earlier, the index fell by as much as 61.8 points.
Six of the 10 TSX subgroups ended higher, with weakness focused in the energy and materials sectors, as commodities such as gold and oil were hurt by a strengthening U.S. dollar following comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The U.S. Federal Reserve could begin pulling back its unprecedented stimulus for the economy by first removing some cash from the financial system and then raising interest rates, Bernanke said on Wednesday. [ID:nWEQ003786]
"Bernanke is talking about beginning to reduce the liquidity in the U.S. market," said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
"If you're in a world where everyone is still worrying about Greece and the impact of the financial crisis and the U.S. is beginning to talk about what's the next step...that makes everyone nervous that that may be happening too soon."
Energy issues dropped 1 percent led by oil and gas giant Suncor Energy's (SU.TO: Quote) 1.9 percent fall to C$31.25.
Imperial Oil IMO.TO dropped 1.4 percent to C$38.32, while EnCana Corp ECA.TO retreated 1.2 percent to C$32.47.
Materials stocks shed 0.6 percent, as Teck Resources TCKb.TO fell 2 percent to C$35.54, and Eldorado Gold ELD.TO retreated 2 percent to C$13.10.
($1=$1.06 Canadian) (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)
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