CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends lower despite RIM jump

Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:14pm EST
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 * TSX down 0.08 percent at 11,463.40
 * Tech sector leads as RIM jumps 10.3 pct
 * Potash, base miners weigh
 (Adds details, comments)
 By Cameron French
 TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
ended slightly lower in a volatile session on Friday as a drop
in energy and materials shares offset a huge jump in
heavyweight tech stock Research In Motion RIM.TO.
 RIM rose 10.3 percent to C$73.96 after reporting a better
than expected quarterly profit and outlook late on Thursday.
 The stock pushed the TSX information technology sector up
by 2.3 percent. Altogether, five of the 10 TSX index subgroups
ended the session higher.
 "RIM's really been the standout performer," said Elvis
Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
 Materials stocks weakened 0.78 percent, hit by an early
slide in copper prices and company-specific news. Gold miners,
however, put in a strong performance, helped by Eldorado Gold
(ELD.TO: Quote), which rose 4 percent to C$14.33.
 Weighing on the sector was fertilizer producer Potash Corp
(POT.TO: Quote), which dropped 6 percent to C$112.00 after an analyst
downgrade, and base-metals miner HudBay Minerals (HBM.TO: Quote),
which sank 8.8 percent to C$12.83 after it revealed
disappointing drill results at a deposit in Manitoba.
 All told, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE retreated
9.66 points, or 0.08 percent, to 11,463.40.
 The index initially appeared to close higher, but then
adjusted lower as final trades were calculated.
 It bounced around for much of the day, rising nearly 100
points early in the session, only to dive in the last two hours
of trading and then bouncing at the close.
 Analysts said the concurrent expiration of stock options
and futures and stock index options and futures -- a quarterly
occasion known as quadruple witching -- contributed to the
market's volatility as big investors adjusted or exercised
derivative positions late in the session.
 "With the quadruple witching, with all the flows that that
creates early the day and all the anticipation it creates,
there's a lot of jerking around," said Paul Hand, managing
director at RBC Capital Markets.
 The heavily weighted energy sector declined 0.87 percent,
despite a small rise in oil prices.
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) slid 2.2 percent to C$35.75, while
Nexen NXY.TO eased 1.9 percent to C$23.50.
 ($1=$1.07 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)