TSX clings to gain as China data offers hope

Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:20pm EST
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By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished slightly higher on Wednesday in a quiet session marked by an early jump to a three-week high that eroded as the day progressed.

Advances by banks and Potash Corp, helped by an encouraging economic report from China, overpowered a drop in the energy group that took the index lower, briefly, just before the close.

Potash Corp led all gainers, up 1.8 percent at C$106.52, followed by several big banks. Bank of Nova Scotia rose 1.1 percent to C$47.82 to lead the banks, while Royal Bank of Canada gained 0.63 percent to C$57.18.

The index shot up more than 100 points from the get-go as oil prices firmed above $79 a barrel after Chinese factory output data signaled the world's third-largest economy has put the worst of the global financial crisis behind it.

"The market got excited out of the gate this morning based on the strong China story and the weak U.S. dollar, but then it faded," said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.

"We're at technical resistance in both Canada and U.S."

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 13.01 points, or 0.11 percent, at 11,439.75.

Gold-mining stocks played a role in the TSX index's gains as the gold price hit a record high near $1,120 an ounce as the U.S. dollar tumbled.   Continued...

<p>People walk by a Bay Street sign at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>