CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as banks' rise offsets soft miners

Thu May 19, 2011 5:13pm EDT
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 * Main index rises 0.13 percent to 13,625.09
 * Bank stocks rise heading into next week's results
 * Weaker metal prices weigh on mining stocks
 (Adds analyst comments, company news)
 By Jeffrey Hodgson
 TORONTO, May 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed little changed on Thursday as gains in financial shares
ahead of bank earnings next week were offset by softer mining
issues, which followed metal prices lower.
 Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote), up 0.55 percent at C$83.97,
and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote), which rose 0.26 percent to
C$58.55, were among the most influential gainers.
 Financial stocks as a whole rose 0.41 percent and played
the biggest role of any sector helping the index strengthen.
 "There's been a lot of people talking about dividend
increases in the banks. I don't think you're going to see it,"
said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at
RKH Investments.
 "I think that's what's driven them. The earnings are going
to be OK. I don't think they're going to be spectacular."
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 17.84 points, or 0.13 percent, at
 The materials sector, which accounts for about 22 percent
of the index's value and includes heavyweight mining stocks,
fell 0.38 percent and was the biggest drag on the market.
 Influential decliners included Potash Corp of Saskatchewan,
(POT.TO: Quote), down 2.92 percent at C$51.93, and Goldcorp Inc
(G.TO: Quote), which fell 0.72 percent to C$46.86.
 Gold, silver and copper prices all fell as weak U.S.
housing and manufacturing data and uncertainty about the end of
the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond-buying program dragged down
commodities across the board. [GOL/] [MET/L]
 The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global
commodities benchmark, fell 1.43 percent.
 "This is a consolidation. The sectors that are dragging
today are just the sectors that outperformed so dramatically
yesterday," said Hutcheon, who added he was still optimistic
about the Canadian market's longer-term outlook.
 The decline in materials and energy stocks, which fell 0.1
percent, came after both sectors helped lead the market more
than 1 percent higher on Wednesday.
 Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, said many
investors may also be limiting buying ahead of the release of
key economic data. Influential numbers include Canadian
inflation data out on Friday. ECONCA
 In individual company news, Air Canada's ACb.TO class B
shares fell more than 2 percent to C$2.34 after pilots rejected
a tentative labor agreement, sending the union and the airline
back to bargaining. [ID:nN19112126]
 Shares of Pan American Silver PAA.TO fell 0.88 percent to
C$31.47 after the miner reported lower-than-expected silver
production, even though its quarterly profit rose more than
threefold, beating analyst expectations. [ID:nN19132894]
 Units of RioCan (REI_u.TO: Quote) Real Estate Investment Trust
fell 0.81 percent to C$25.59 after results from Canada's
largest landlord of retail space fell short of expectations,
although executives suggested it could hike its payout next
year. [ID:nL4E7GJ26E]
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Editing by Peter Galloway)