March 31, 2016 / 3:13 PM / a year ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX seesaws, on track for 5 percent gain in March

3 Min Read

(Adds details on sectors and stocks throughout, updates prices)

* TSX rose 2.75 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,506.73

* Five of the TSX's 10 main groups were higher

TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index seesawed on Thursday as energy stocks firmed after crude oil prices turned higher but materials and healthcare stocks dragged.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index is on track to notch a 5 percent gain in March, its biggest monthly move higher since October 2011.

The most influential movers on the index included Suncor Energy Inc, which rose 0.4 percent to C$35.79, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, which advanced 0.8 percent to C$34.94.

The overall energy group climbed 0.5 percent, while U.S. crude prices were up 1.0 percent to $38.70 a barrel after rebounding from earlier losses.

The heavyweight financials group gained 0.2 percent.

Toronto-Dominion Bank said that it expected losses from bad loans in the oil & gas sector to be manageable given its relatively small exposure to the energy sector.

Its shares rose 0.1 percent to 56.30.

The shares of Cara Operations Ltd rose more than 11 percent to C$29.65. The owner of the Swiss Chalet casual dining chain and Harvey's burger outlets said it would buy St-Hubert BBQ, one of Quebec's largest casual dining chains, for C$537 million ($415 million).

At 10:46 a.m. EDT (1446 GMT), the S&P/TSX index rose 2.75 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,506.73. Five of the index's 10 main groups were higher.

The biggest drag on the index was Silver Wheaton Corp . The mining company's shares fell 5.5 percent to C$21.63.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.8 percent.

The shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc fell 4.2 percent to C$33.62. The drugmaker said it was asking its lenders for another month to file its annual report, seeking to reduce the risk of a default on its $30 billion debt if it misses the current April 29 deadline.

Canada's economy grew by a much larger-than-expected 0.6 percent in January, Statistics Canada data indicated, reducing the odds that the Bank of Canada will need to cut interest rates further this year. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bill Trott)

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