CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as energy shares drop, other sectors gain

Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:08pm EST
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* TSX up 3.09 points, or 0.02 percent, at 14,312.50

* Nine of 10 main index sectors advance

* Canadian Natural, Suncor drive weakness in energy sector

By John Tilak and Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Monday as a decline in oil and gas stocks, fueled by lower crude prices, offset gains in other sectors.

The plunge in oil prices over the past six months, triggered by worries about excess supply, has been the biggest drag on both energy shares and Canada's benchmark equities index. The TSX is down about 2.5 percent this year.

Oil prices dropped below the $50 mark on Monday on concerns about China's economic growth, and they have lost about 55 percent of their value since June.

The Chinese premier said the country's economy faces significant downward pressure this year. Investors were also awaiting China's fourth-quarter gross domestic product report, due on Tuesday.

"The market is poised at an inflection point. The question is, is there some value here?" said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...