CANADA STOCKS-TSX retreats from 12,000 as banks, oils fall

Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:06pm EST
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 * S&P/TSX composite ends down 6.70 points at 11,947.13
 * Index rises as high as 12,070, then retreats
 * Falling energy, bank shares balanced by rising materials
 (Updates prices, adds quotes, details)
 TORONTO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market
index finished little changed on Monday after climbing above
12,000 for the first time since September 2008, with weakness
in heavyweight financial and energy issues offsetting strength
in the index's materials group.
 Oil and gas stocks surged at the open but then retreated
rapidly with Talisman Energy TLM.TO leading the way with a
3.55 percent drop to C$19.85 on volume of more than 5 million
shares, about twice the usual level over the past three
 Talisman, an independent oil explorer, said it would raise
its capital spending this year but expects little production
growth.  [ID:nSGE60A0F4]
 EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), down 1.3 percent at C$35.52, and
Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote), down 0.28 percent at C$38.58, were
also among the top decliners as the price of oil fell from a
15-month high near $84 a barrel. [O/R]
 Financials were also a major drag on the index with four of
the five big banks in the red, as well as the three big
insurers. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) dropped 0.97 percent to
C$47, while Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote) lost 0.53 percent to
C$20.68. Bucking the trend, Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) led
all heavyweight risers, up 0.71 percent to C$64.18.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed down 6.70 points at 11,947.13. The index rose
as high as 12,070.74 at the start of trade, partly on the back
of stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data, reviving bets on
global economic recovery. But the gains failed to hold.
 "It's been a very disappointing market," said Francis
Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal. "We had a nice
strong start, above key resistance levels, and basically we've
been drifting down all day."
 He said U.S. earnings season, which began with aluminum
producer Alcoa's narrower fourth-quarter net loss, reported
after markets, would probably provide a key to the market's
near-term direction.
 Market players are looking for revenue growth and profit
growth that is not based on cost-cutting as further proof that
economies are emerging from recession.
 On the plus side, a five-week high in the price of bullion
lifted gold-mining issues. Among the top gainers, shares of
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's biggest gold
producer, gained 0.61 percent to C$43.00.
 Irwin Michael, a portfolio manager at ABC Funds, warned
investors not to read too much into the TSX index piercing the
12,000 level.
 "The market is still very thin, people are still very
edgy," he said, referring to many traders' expectations that
the market is still due for a correction after its Christmas
 ($1=$1.03 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng and Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter