CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges higher as golds, financials lead

Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:02pm EST
 
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   * TSX up 18.58 points, or 0.13 percent, at 13,929.35
 * Seven of the 10 main groups rise
 * Index hovers near 31-month highs
 (Updates with details, comment)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
finished modestly higher on Tuesday, with financials and gold
issues leading the gains and offsetting declines among
base-metal miners.
 The market extended Monday's 1 percent rally when Chinese
trade data, which showed surging imports, gave the
resource-heavy TSX a boost.
 "The surprise still is on the resilience of the market and
how it does not seem to want to go down," said Ian Nakamoto,
director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
 "People have said we're in for a correction. How many
thousand of points have we gone up since then? We're still
waiting for Godot -- it may never happen," Nakamoto said.
 "Those who are betting for a pullback have certainly
suffered the price of having too much cash on the side."
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE finished 18.58 points, or 0.13 percent higher, at
13,929.35. Seven of the 10 main groups advanced.
 Technology, consumer discretionaries and healthcare were
the three decliners.
 Among Tuesday's big gainers were Barrick Gold ABX.TO,
which rose 1.35 percent to C$48.66 and Goldcorp G.TO, which
gained 1.7 percent to C$43.56.
 Bullion prices roses to a four-week high as inflation
concerns sparked a technical breakout. The precious metal also
found support as Chinese inflation data came in lower than
expected, easing concerns that the world's second-largest
economy would have to tighten its monetary policy. Lower
interest rates tend to support gold buying. [GOL/]
 Offsetting the golds' gains was a decline among base-metals
and fertilizer companies.
 Potash Corp POT.TO came off its recent run and gave back
3.39 percent to C$60.63. U.S. grain prices fell as sentiment
turned bearish amid overbought conditions.
 First Quantum Minerals FM.TO slumped 4.15 percent to
128.15, while Teck Resources TCKb.TO shed 1.36 percent to
C$58.00.
 Copper prices fell from record highs, posting their biggest
one-day slide in three weeks, as worries about China's ability
to sustain its rate of growth and its appetite for commodities
resurfaced. [MET/L] [ID:nLDE71E21N]
 The overall materials group, home to a broad spectrum of
miners, was up marginally, gaining 0.13 percent.
 The hefty financial group, which make up nearly 30 percent
of the index made the largest gains and was up 0.43 percent.
 Manulife Financial MFC.TO, which bought Milwaukee-based
Optique Capital Management for an undisclosed amount on Monday,
rose 2.41 percent to 18.69. [ID:nN14101128]
 Energy issues added 0.18 percent, but trading was mixed
within the group alongside choppy oil prices, with U.S. crude
futures ending lower for a third session. [ID:nN15218620]
 Talisman Energy TLM.TO advanced 1.29 percent to finish at
C$22.85, but Husky Energy HSE.TO retreated 1.11 percent to
C$27.67 after the oil producer and refiner reported a 5 percent
drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday. [ID:nN14113733]
 With its recent gains, the TSX is hovering around 31-month
highs and nearing the 14,000-point level.
 "This market has certainly defied gravity for a long, long
time, so I wouldn't be surprised if we go through 14,000 on a
temporary basis," said Levente Mady, market strategist at Union
Securities.
 "My inclination is we're definitely looking at a 5 to 10
percent pullback, sooner than later."
 ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)