CANADA STOCKS-TSX inches higher on financials, energy

Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:36pm EST
 
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 * TSX ends up 0.13 pct at 11,717.46
 * Bank and energy stocks get a lift from U.S. data
 * Trading very thin due to holidays
 (Adds details, official closing numbers, analyst's comments)
 By John McCrank
 TORONTO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
ended slightly higher on Wednesday in light trading on the
second last session of the year as energy and financial stocks
got a boost from U.S. economic data that came in well above
forecasts.
 Entering the session, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE
was up 30.2 percent for the year, and with 2009 drawing to a
close, investors seemed averse to taking new positions. Volume
was well below average.
 The S&P/TSX composite closed up 15.65 points, or 0.13
percent, at 11,717.46.
 Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO was one of the top index
gainers of the day, up 0.4 percent to C$56.14. Bank of Nova
Scotia BNS.TO and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO also made
gains, up 0.6 percent to C$49.72 and 0.3 percent to C$65.40
respectively.
 U.S. data showed that business activity in the U.S. Midwest
was much higher than expected, hitting nearly a four-year high.
[ID:nN30215445]
 "That seems to confirm that the U.S. economy is recovering
quite strongly, and that's been enough to set off some buying
among some of the financial stocks here, and some of the energy
names as well," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at
Global Securities in Vancouver.
 Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was the No. 1 index
gainer, up 0.9 percent at C$75.99, while Suncor Energy SU.TO
was up 0.5 percent at C$37.56.
 On the broader market, InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust
INN_u.TO, a large Canadian hotel portfolio holder, said it
raised C$50 million ($47.6 million) in a debenture offering
that will help it pay down debt and provide funds for general
purposes. Its units ended down 1.1 percent at C$5.30.
 Also, Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust REF_u.TO said
it acquired a 50 percent interest in retail properties forming
part of south Edmonton Common Shopping Centre for about C$39.2
million. Its units shed 2.7 percent to C$26.86.
 In Ottawa, the minority Conservative government said it
will suspend Parliament until early March, provoking an angry
backlash from a sidelined opposition parties, but doing nothing
to move markets. [ID:nN30224412]
 Trading has been thin this week as many market players take
an extended holiday break.
 "At this point in time, everyone is pretty happy with the
way the year has gone, given that we such a disastrous start,"
Picardo said. "This is a time to basically be looking to see
what to do next. I think we'll see very little in the way of
action tomorrow as well."
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)
 (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway)