CANADA STOCKS-TSX up broadly at midday, but gold weighs

Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:27pm EST
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* Nine groups gain, financials lead as GMAC deal supports

* Sliding gold price drags materials lower

* Oil falls more than $1/barrel, but energy sector up

TORONTO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was up 1.6 percent at midday on Tuesday as a broad rally easily offset a retreating materials group, which was being led lower by a retreating gold price.

The TSX began the session slightly lower but gains from nine of the index's 10 main groups outweighed a drag from the materials sector, which had advanced strongly in the previous session along with oil and gas.

The heavily weighted financials group was up 2.6 percent, as Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote), Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote), and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) were among the biggest movers on the exchange.

News that the U.S. government expanded its bailout of the crippled auto industry fed positive investor sentiment as Washington's move to support auto lender GMAC raised hopes that a recession would not be as long as previously feared. See [ID:nN29320920].

"Insurance and financials are leading the pack today in Canada based on that (auto) news," Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He said the market was also given a bit of breathing room after the deadline had passed for tax-loss selling, where investors realize losses on securities to offset capital gains taxes.   Continued...