November 9, 2012 / 4:08 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as investors nervous about "fiscal cliff"

* TSX up 6.30 points, or 0.05 percent, at 12,197.35.
    * Stronger financials offset weak resource shares

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed in thin trade on Friday as investors remained
worried about the looming "fiscal cliff" in the United States
and largely overlooked better-than-expected U.S. economic data.
    U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more
than five years in November as consumers felt more optimistic
about employment prospects and the outlook for the overall
economy, according to Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan
    Separately, data showed U.S. wholesale inventories rose in
September by the most in nine months as wholesalers sharply
boosted stocks of farm goods and oil, the latest sign the
economy grew more than initially estimated in the third quarter.
    "Quite frankly, with the strong numbers that came out this
morning out of the States, that the market is not rallying
stronger I think is a pretty big sign of weakness," said John
O'Connell, chief executive of money manager Davis Rea.
    "Volumes are exceptionally low and as a general rule, in
what we believe to be maybe a developing bear market here our
sense is that low volumes tend to mean lower prices over time."
    At 10:40 a.m. (1440 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 6.30 points, or 0.05
percent, at 12,197.35.
    Financials were up 0.5 percent, materials dropped 0.4
percent and energy shares were off 0.1 percent.
    Among the heaviest movers, Manulife Financial rose
2.9 percent to C$12.16 after reported a narrower loss in the
third quarter in the previous session. 
    Royal Bank of Canada climbed 0.4 percent to C$55.94
and Goldcorp lost 1.2 percent to C$44.39.
    Investors will be paying close attention to a statement by
newly reelected U.S. President Barack Obama at 1:05 p.m.
    Obama will address looming tax hikes and government spending
cuts - the so-called fiscal cliff - that would go into effect
and possibly drive the U.S. economy into recession unless
Congress acts to prevent them.
    Investors were wary too before a Greek parliament vote on
Sunday on its 2013 budget. The budget must be passed to unlock a
further tranche of international aid. 
    Data suggesting the euro zone crisis was extending its reach
to France and Germany did not help sentiment either.
    In individual company news, shares of Canadian
home-improvement retailer Rona Inc jumped 8.6 percent
to C$10.15 after news its longtime chief executive, Robert
Dutton, was stepping down. 
    The resignation could signal a change in strategy at Rona,
which earlier this year rejected a takeover offer from
U.S.-based rival Lowe's Cos Inc. 
    Telus Corp rose 2.1 percent to C$64.83 after Canada's
third-largest wireless company reported an 8 percent rise in
third-quarter profit. 
    TMX Group, the Toronto Stock Exchange Operator, was
down 1.8 percent to C$47.80 after it announced its results were
hurt by a slowdown in capital markets activity and uncertain
macroeconomic conditions.
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