CANADA STOCKS-Financials lift TSX ahead of U.S. budget vote

Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:06pm EDT
 
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 * TSX up 15.11 points, or 0.12 percent, at 13,047.78
 * 7 of 10 main sectors stronger
 (Updates to close, adds analyst comment)
 By Trish Nixon
 TORONTO, July 28 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed slightly higher on Thursday as investors picked up
beaten-down financial issues including banks, offsetting
lagging energy and materials sectors.
 But markets were volatile ahead of a U.S. House vote later
on Thursday on a controversial Republican bill to cut the U.S.
deficit and raise the debt limit. U.S. House of Representatives
Speaker John Boehner is pushing to pass a bill in the
Republican-majority House, while the Democratic-controlled
Senate is crafting a competing bill. [ID:nN1E76R004]
 "It's some hope on a settlement for the U.S. budget
deficit," said Gavin Graham president of Graham Investment
Strategy, comparing the session's gains with the sharp sell-off
on Wednesday, caused by fears that a deal man not get done by
Aug. 2.
 "Also, the fact that Moody's thinks Canada, unlike the U.S.
really is Aaa. That obviously helped."
 Moody's debt rating agency reaffirmed its Aaa rating on
Canada's sovereign debt on Thursday, citing the nation's
economic resiliency, very high government financial strength
and a low susceptibility to event risk.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed the session up 15.11 points, or 0.12 percent,
at 13,047.78. Seven of the 10 main index groups were higher.
 Heavily weighted financial issues led the gains, rising 0.4
percent, following a steep sell-off over recent weeks.
 Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO was the most influential stock
supporting the index, adding 1.4 percent to trade at C$52.05.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO, up 1.18 percent at
C$73.61 and Manulife Financial MFC.TO, up 1.25 to C$15.34,
were also among the top gainers.
 "We've reached some oversold conditions, mostly on the
financial side of the equation," said Francis Campeau, a broker
at MF Global Canada. Earlier in the session, the sector
.SPTTFS hit a 2011 low.
 Potash Corp also helped lead the market higher, rising 0.3
percent to C$56.20 after the world's largest fertilizer maker
reported a 75 percent increase in its quarterly profit on the
back of surging grain prices that lifted demand for its crop
nutrients. [nN1E76R08V]
 But a slew of of less positive results by gold and energy
producers on Thursday contributed to a slide in the materials
and energy sectors.
 Suncor Energy SU.TO was the most influential decliner.
Shares of the oil and gas producer fell 2.8 percent to C$37.09
after it reported a slim 4 percent rise in second-quarter
profit and said it did not anticipate further asset sales in
2011. [ID:nL6E7IS0CL]
 Goldcorp Inc G.TO also dragged on the index, down 3.2
percent to C$46.71. The gold producer said on Wednesday its
second-quarter operating profit more than doubled but the
company cut the midpoint of its expected 2011 gold production
range by 6.5 percent as operational issues, project delays, and
forest fires curtailed output in Mexico, Canada and the
Dominican Republic. [ID:nN1E76Q1O3]
 Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO fell 0.3 percent to C$45.87,
after the world's largest gold miner reported a 35 percent
increase in quarterly profit but warned of sizable increases in
capital expenditures. [nN1E76R019]
($1=$0.95 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Jeffrey
Hodgson)