CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed as oils up, insurers fall

Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:18am EST
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* Insurers drop after reporting results

* Energy shares gain on rise in crude price (Adds details)

TORONTO Feb 13 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was little changed on Friday morning as gains in energy shares on higher crude prices balanced declining materials and financial issues.

Financial shares were being pressured by big insurers Sun Life SLF.TO and Manulife MFC.TO, which reported weak results on Thursday, while the mining-heavy materials group was led lower by the easing price of gold.

At 10:45 a.m. (1524 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 0.58 points to 8,778.20. Six of the index's main groups were lower, while four climbed. The index fell nearly 70 points early in the session.

"I think it's just a lot of indecision," Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

"The news is still more on the bad than in the good. It's an atmosphere for short-selling and indecision, but you see whenever there is a bit of positive news...there's a quick rally up."

The TSX turned around late in the session on Thursday, spurred by news that the Obama administration was working on a program to subsidize mortgage payments for financially troubled U.S. homeowners. Investors were on the lookout for further details of the plan on Friday. [ID:nN12553515]

Focus may also turn to a vote in the U.S. Congress to pass the $789 billion package of economic stimulus measures.   Continued...