January 26, 2010 / 10:22 PM / 7 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX ekes out small gain on banks, golds

3 Min Read

* TSX up 0.06 percent at 11,361.19

* Energy sector weighs as crude retreats (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index eked out a small gain on Tuesday after rebounding from a near seven-week low as sagging energy shares were offset by renewed strength in golds and financials.

A turnaround in banking stocks helped lead the small advance, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) up 1.25 percent at C$53.37 and by Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) ahead 1.4 percent at C$53.38. The country's other three big banks also finished in positive territory, helping the financials group rise 0.42 percent.

Gold producers were also a key support as the precious metal rallied from a session low to finish at just under $1,100 an ounce. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was among the major gainers, up 0.8 percent at C$38.38.

But energy issues continued to be key downside movers, in concert with a weaker price of crude oil, which at one point dipped below $74 a barrel [ID:nN26116773]. EnCana (ECA.TO) led the heavyweight decliners with a 1.77 percent fall to C$33.76.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 6.68 points, or 0.06 percent, at 11,361.19.

The TSX swung to to its lowest level since Dec. 9 on concerns over the economic recovery after China's clampdown on lending raised doubts about the robustness of Chinese demand for commodities such as oil.

The index managed to regain early losses and began its turnaround after U.S. data showed consumer confidence rose for a third consecutive month in January. [ID:nN26357538].

But the TSX ended the session much where it began as uncertainty prevailed, said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Wealth Management.

"Markets can handle good news. Markets can handle bad news. But what the markets have a tough time digesting, is not knowing what the news is. If there's one thing that bothers them, it's uncertainty," said Chandler. "That's sort of where the market is."

He pointed to the impact of China's policy moves, the White House's plan to rein in big U.S. banks, and the depth of the global economic recovery as examples of uncertainty.

Investors are also awaiting the outcome of a two-day policy meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was taking place in the shadow of fierce Senate debate over Ben Bernanke's reconfirmation as head of the U.S. central bank. [ID:nFEDAHEAD]

Chandler said there was an ongoing debate about higher interest rates will eventually feed into company results, which was fueling anxiety in uncertain times.

The State of the Union address by U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday is also going to be closely watched, analysts said, for clues on how his administration will further stabilize the fragile U.S. economy and deal with the deficit. [ID:nN25224485]

$1=$1.06 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson

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