Toronto stocks end flat as banks offset oils

Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:05pm EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished flat on Wednesday as investors sold off financial shares, offsetting stronger energy issues, which gained on higher commodity prices.

Three of the 10 main index groups finished higher, including the heavyweight energy and materials sectors, which added 1.03 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

However, financials were a drag, shedding 1.14 percent, as investors found reason to worry after profits plunged at U.S. investment banking giant Morgan Stanley.

"The financials are sort of struggling here, so those that want to invest in the market are putting money into the proven winners," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, referring to shares of oil firms and gold producers.

Among finance decliners, Toronto-Dominion Bank fell C$1.20, or 1.7 percent, to C$67.61. Sun Life Financial shed 74 Canadian cents, or 1.61 percent, to C$45.09.

The S&P/TSX composite index eked out a gain of 4.30 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 15,073.13.

The S&P/TSX 60 index of Canadian bluechip names added 0.96 points to close at 900.93.

Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities, said investors aren't ready to plunge back into financials as fallout from the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis and a slower economy continue to weigh.   Continued...