July 29, 2014 / 1:48 PM / 5 years ago

TSX steady as geopolitical fears offset Talisman, WestJet gains

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended little changed on Tuesday as concerns about geopolitical tensions helped offset gains in Talisman Energy Inc and WestJet Airlines Ltd after the companies reported quarterly results.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Investors digested news of a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East, as well as moves by the European Union and the United States to implement more sanctions against Russia.

The market also braced for a slew of economic data, including the monthly U.S. jobs report, on tap for later this week. Further, the U.S. Federal Reserve will put out a policy statement on Wednesday.

The Toronto stock market’s benchmark index, which is up about 13 percent this year, hit an all-time high earlier in the session before giving up some of those gains.

“We look at these record highs as an opportunity to rebalance, selling some winners and buying some laggards,” said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners of Richardson GMP Ltd, which manages about C$28.3 billion in assets.

“We’re approaching it with more caution than usual,” he added. “Whenever markets become stretched, there’s always the risk of a pullback.”

Zohny said that the energy and materials sectors offer the best relative value at these levels.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 1.33 points, or 0.01 percent, and 15,446.55. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.2 percent, with Sun Life Financial Inc rising 0.4 percent to C$41.65.

Shares of energy producers slip with the price of U.S. crude oil. Suncor Energy Inc gave back 0.5 percent to C$45.12, and Enbridge Inc lost 0.3 percent to C$55.03.

WestJet posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit as higher ticket prices and fees helped it offset steeper fuel costs and a weaker Canadian dollar. The stock jumped 3.9 percent to C$28.49.

Talisman reported a surprise loss, hurt by lower gas prices in North America and higher royalty payments on production. Shares of the oil producer, which declined to offer additional details on its talks with Spain’s Repsol SA, strengthened 1.8 percent to C$11.93.

Editing by Peter Galloway and Tom Brown

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