CANADA STOCKS-TSX cuts losses on hope for U.S. automaker aid

Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:21pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO Dec 12 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index charged back from a near 300-point slide on Friday and was hovering near the break-even mark at midday on hope that aid for U.S. automakers could still come even though an earlier plan collapsed.

Signs on Friday that the White House and U.S Treasury may mount a last-ditch effort to aid the automakers boosted the index off the session low, which was also its lowest level in a week.

"The way the doom and gloomers were talking it looked like a 1,000-point (loss) day today and when that didn't materialize, that was seen as a positive," said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.

At 12:05 p.m. (1705 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was 8.28 points higher at 8,400.18, with two of its 10 sectors in positive territory.

Earlier, the key index tumbled 281.77 points as a package of measures to provide aid to U.S. automakers died in the Senate late Thursday after opposition from Republicans.

The materials group, home to some of the biggest base-metals and gold-mining companies in the world, led all sectors with a 2 percent rise and kept the market afloat as the price of gold rose.

Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO shares were up 2.9 percent at C$39.03, while shares of mid-tier producer Agnico-Eagle AEM.TO rose 8.9 percent to C$48.35.   Continued...