March 14, 2013 / 12:42 PM / 7 years ago

TSX holds steady; Canadian Natural leads gainers

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was little changed in slim dealings on Thursday, a day after the index shed 1 percent in a broad selloff.

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Oil company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) was the gainer most influential on the index, rising 3.1 percent to C$32.85. Brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel raised its rating on Canadian Natural to “buy” from “hold” and said the company was well-positioned for the second half of 2013.

Fellow oil producer Encana Corp (ECA.TO) rose 2 percent to C$19.89. The overall energy sector was up 0.6 percent.

Investors largely kept to the sidelines after fleeing heavyweight energy, bank and mining stocks on Wednesday. Earlier this week, the TSX touched a 19-month high.

“Toronto continues to lag compared to what’s going on down south, at least the Dow and the S&P, which are having another good day,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

“We don’t have anything to pick up the slack in Canada ... but it’s not vicious like yesterday.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was trading up less than a point at 12,744.57 at mid morning, after seeing its sharpest one-day move in either direction since November in the previous session.

The 10 main groups in the index were evenly split between decliners and advancers.

The financial group, which makes up about a third of the index’s weight, was down 0.3 percent, led lower by Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), which fell 0.7 percent to C$59.67. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was down 0.4 percent at C$61.22.

Four of the five heaviest drags on the index were banks. The sector has retreated in the last two weeks after touching some of its highest levels in more than five years.

In individual company news, Quebecor Inc (QBRa.TO) shares fell 5.1 percent to C$43.73 after the media and telecommunications conglomerate reported a 89 percent fall in quarterly profit. The company also said that Chief Executive Pierre Karl Peladeau will step down.

Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp PRE.TO was down 5 percent at C$23.45 after a Colombian arbitration tribunal on Wednesday ruled in favor of state-run oil company Ecopetrol in a dispute over the revenues generated by an oil field run by the companies.

Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and Peter Galloway

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