CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed, materials limit decline

Tue May 24, 2011 11:00am EDT
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   * TSX down 5.97 points, or 0.04 percent, at 13,646.30
 * Nine of 10 main sectors lower
 * Materials' advance limits downside
 (Adds analyst comment, further details)
 TORONTO, May 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was
little changed on Tuesday morning as renewed concerns about the
euro zone's ongoing debt problems weighed on most of the index,
except for the mining-heavy materials group.
 Most TSX sectors were playing catch-up with sharp declines
in major markets on Monday when Canadian financial markets were
closed for a holiday. The declines were fueled by risk of
multi-notch credit downgrades in some euro zone countries.
 New warnings about contagion fueled fears the euro zone
crisis is heading for a new, more dangerous phase. Greece, if
it defaults, has been tipped as a possible trigger that could
drag a new group of countries -- including Group of Eight
member Italy -- into trouble.
 Rating agency Moody's said a Greek debt default would put
Portugal and Ireland at risk of multi-notch credit downgrades.
For details, see [ID:nLDE74N0AQ]
 That risk, along with a softer profile for global growth,
has put some pressure on stocks in recent weeks.
 "Those events are now back on the table," said Barry
Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin
Financial Services.
 "Investors are looking at their portfolios and they've had
doubles on many of their stocks over the past two years and
you're not gong to have that kind of performance going
 At 10:50 a.m. (1450 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 5.97 points, or 0.04
percent, at 13,646.30. Nine of the index's 10 main sectors were
 Materials, up 1.11 percent, was the only advancing group,
bolstered by its gold-mining and fertilizer constituents. The
price of gold hit a two-week high on euro zone debt worries.
 Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) rose 3 percent to C$52.12, while
Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) gained 1.7 percent to C$79.20. Barrick Gold
(ABX.TO: Quote) climbed 2.4 percent to C$45.45, while Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote)
pushed up 1.7 percent to C$48.31.
 Financials were off 0.6 percent, ahead of this week's
earnings reports from the country's big banks. After prospering
so long from a resilient domestic housing market, Canada's
banks may soon start feeling some pressure as mortgage lending
begins to cool down across the country. [ID:nN20244603]
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)