CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as Ukraine fears subside; oil shares fall
* TSX rises 10.08 points, or 0.07 percent, to 14,299.94 * Five of the 10 main index sectors advance * Falling oil price weighs on energy shares By John Tilak TORONTO, March 5 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Wednesday, with gains in financials offset by weakness in energy shares, as tensions over Ukraine eased with the prospect of dialogue between the United States and Russia on the crisis. The two world powers will hold talks on Ukraine on Wednesday as the West tries to persuade Moscow to pull its forces back to base in Crimea and avert the risk of a war. Investors also digested news that the Bank of Canada had left its benchmark interest rate unchanged but continued to express concern about weak inflation. "The situation in Ukraine is still a fluid one and likely to continue to cause volatility," said Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada. "That will continue to impact market psyche." Kshatriya sees more choppiness in store for the Toronto stock market, whose benchmark index is up nearly 5 percent this year on gains in its materials and energy sectors. "We think the TSX will finish higher than we initially thought, though we question the sustainability of the recent move," he said. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 10.08 points, or 0.07 percent, at 14,299.94. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.8 percent to C$72.43, and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.9 percent to C$63.66. Gold-mining stocks also advanced, with Goldcorp Inc gaining 0.7 percent to C$30.23 and Barrick Gold Corp adding 0.5 percent to C$22.74. A decline in the price of oil weighed on shares of energy producers. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 0.3 percent to C$40.81.
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