November 6, 2014 / 12:47 PM / 4 years ago

TSX steady after ECB comments, SNC decline

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Thursday as comments from the European Central Bank helped offset weakness in shares of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO) after the engineering and construction company cut its profit outlook.

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

SNC trimmed its full-year earnings forecast and said it was cutting its workforce by 9 percent. Its shares dropped 8.1 percent.

Investors were encouraged as the European Central Bank indicated a willingness to unveil more stimulus measures if needed.

The benchmark TSX, which has swung both ways in the past few weeks, is down about 7 percent since hitting a record high in September.

Energy shares have tumbled with commodity prices in recent months, but they managed to shrug off a lower oil price on Thursday.

“We’re seeing a lot more dispersion in the marketplace,” said Ben Jang, a portfolio manager who helps oversee about C$2.5 billion in assets at Nicola Wealth Management.

“The supply-demand imbalance will continue to place pressure on oil prices,” he added. “There’s going to be a lot more volatility in oil prices. There’s low visibility overall.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 15.12 points, or 0.1 percent, at 14,563.38. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

The energy sector climbed nearly 1 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) rose 3.9 percent to C$39.74 after the oil producer said it plans to boost capital spending 11 percent next year.

The gold-mining sector rebounded, rising 4.5 percent after a decline in the previous session. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) advanced 3.8 percent to C$12.97, and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) jumped 4.4 percent to C$21.21.

Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Lisa Shumaker

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