CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as banks offset falling oil shares

Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:54pm EDT
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* TSX up 0.1 percent at 11,722.07

* Energy stocks pressured by retreating oil prices

* Potash rises again on hopes of richer offer (Updates to close. Adds details)

TORONTO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index turned around late on Friday and eked out a small gain as banks and financial services companies offset oil and gas shares, which fell with oil prices on concern that the global economic recovery is faltering.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 11.89 points, or 0.1 percent, at 11,722.07, clawing back from a decline of nearly 1 percent earlier in the day.

Nine of the index's 10 main groups were higher. The energy sector fell sharply as the price of oil dropped to a six-week low below $74 a barrel.

Suncor Energy SU.TO was down 0.94 percent at C$32.68, and and fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO fell 0.76 percent to C$33.75.

The index's materials group, home to golds and fertilizer producer Potash Corp, rose 0.18 percent after recovering from earlier losses.

Takeover target Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO remained buoyed by hopes that a sweeter offer will emerge. Potash Corp, up 1.42 percent at C$157.06, is soliciting alternative bidders willing to pay more than the $130 a share offered by BHP Billiton BHP.AX, the world's largest mining company, in its $39 billion hostile offer. [ID:nN22340110]   Continued...