TSX ends choppy session with tiny gain

Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:15pm EST
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - After two days of big rises, the Toronto Stock Exchange's main index eked out a tiny gain on Tuesday as firmness in financial shares, due in part to a U.S. Federal Reserve plan to aid consumer lending, offset weakness in technology and materials issues.

The index ended virtually flat after swinging in a range of nearly 300 points from top to bottom in choppy activity. For most of the day it was in negative territory.

"It's been a bit of a bun toss here today after both Toronto and New York being so strong the last two days," said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities. "There's one camp that seems to feel the rally will continue and one camp that seems to think there is some profit-taking today."

The S&P/TSX composite index ended up 1.99 points, or 0.02 percent, at 8,442.86, with six of its 10 main groups higher. On Friday, the index rose 5.6 percent and on Monday it was up 3.5 percent.

Toronto-Dominion Bank was down 4.7 percent at C$40.89 after it said late Monday it sold common shares worth C$1.2 billion to reassure investors about its capital strength.

The overall financial group, however, rose 0.5 percent, helped by the Fed's announcement of a $600 billion program to buy mortgage-related debt and a $200 billion facility to support consumer finance.

Bank of Montreal, which rose 2.4 percent to C$34.95, also helped lift the sector. Earlier, BMO reported a higher quarterly profit, but said that dividend increases are on hold because of the murky economic outlook.

Research In Motion sank 8 percent to C$50.77 after a research firm said it expects cellphone sales to fall next year as the economic slowdown hits demand. The broader information technology sector was off 2.9 percent.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>