CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as stronger banks offset energy

Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:55am EDT
 
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 * TSX up 5.57 points at 12,914.46
 * Financials lead gains, but energy shares weigh
 (Updates with details, commentary)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, June 27 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was
little changed on Monday morning as stronger financials offset
weakness in commodities ahead of a Greek austerity vote later
in the week that will be critical to securing a new bailout.
 Weighty financial shares were up 0.2 percent. Royal Bank of
Canada RY.TO edged up 0.3 percent to C$54.08, while Manulife
Financial MFC.TO added 1 percent to C$16.14.
 "Maybe some short-covering, but there's no real force
buying going through right now. I think people are more
squaring off positions or reducing positions," said Francis
Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
 On the other side of the equation, the Thomson
Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities
benchmark, fell 0.5 percent, dragging resource shares down.
 Brent and U.S. crude futures slipped slightly in choppy
action, reacting to lower than expected U.S. personal income
and spending data and on uncertainty over Greece's vote on
Wednesday. [O/R]
 Greek lawmakers will begin debating a 28 billion euro ($40
billion) package of measures to increase taxes and cut spending
that is critical to winning a new round of international
funding aimed at easing its debt crisis. [ID:nLDE75P0BM]
 At 10:36 a.m. (1436 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 5.57 points, or 0.04
percent, at 12,914.46.
 The energy sector fell 0.3 percent, with Suncor Energy
SU.TO the most influential decliner on the index, sliding 0.7
percent to C$36.74.
 Niko Resources NKO.TO dropped 3.7 percent to C$60.50
after the oil and gas producer was fined C$9.5 million and
given three years' probation after pleading guilty to charges
that it bribed a Bangladeshi official. [nN1E75N02B]
 Potash Corp POT.TO was the strongest advancer, climbing
1.2 percent to C$52.53. Gold miners also reversed earlier
losses, rising 0.3 percent, despite easing bullion prices.
[GOL/]
 Campeau said he expects sideways trading until Greece's
austerity vote on Wednesday.
 "There's the vote and the question of how they're going to
package all those Greek bonds, and until these issues are
cleared up or settled, the market risk will remain to the
downside," he said.
 "Buyers will step in only when they can add a bit more
visibility out of Europe."
 Campeau noted that the Greek vote on Wednesday also marks
the last day of the first half of the year.
 "We might see some positive rebalancing where people sell
some bonds to buy stocks."
  (Reporting by Claire Sibonney)