TSX inches higher on financials, energy

Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:38pm EST
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended slightly higher on Wednesday in light trading on the second last session of the year as energy and financial stocks got a boost from U.S. economic data that came in well above forecasts.

Entering the session, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 30.2 percent for the year, and with 2009 drawing to a close, investors seemed averse to taking new positions. Volume was well below average.

The S&P/TSX composite closed up 15.65 points, or 0.13 percent, at 11,717.46.

Royal Bank of Canada was one of the top index gainers of the day, up 0.4 percent to C$56.14. Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto-Dominion Bank also made gains, up 0.6 percent to C$49.72 and 0.3 percent to C$65.40 respectively.

U.S. data showed that business activity in the U.S. Midwest was much higher than expected, hitting nearly a four-year high.

"That seems to confirm that the U.S. economy is recovering quite strongly, and that's been enough to set off some buying among some of the financial stocks here, and some of the energy names as well," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

Canadian Natural Resources was the No. 1 index gainer, up 0.9 percent at C$75.99, while Suncor Energy was up 0.5 percent at C$37.56.

On the broader market, InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust, a large Canadian hotel portfolio holder, said it raised C$50 million ($47.6 million) in a debenture offering that will help it pay down debt and provide funds for general purposes. Its units ended down 1.1 percent at C$5.30.   Continued...

<p>A general view of the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) Broadcast Centre in Toronto in this June 20, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>