November 20, 2012 / 9:54 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX ekes out gain as banks rise after Bernanke

* TSX rises 5.88 points, or 0.05 percent, to 12,046.28
    * Nine of 10 subgroups decline
    * RIM shares gain nearly 2 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended
slightly higher on Tuesday, as bank shares rose on a safety bid
after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed
does not have the tools to cushion the U.S. economy if
politicians fail to avoid punitive spending cuts and the
expiration of tax cuts.
    The Toronto index was weighed down by shares of heavyweight
mining and energy companies, and the financial sector was one of
a few main sectors to notch a gain, after Bernanke said the U.S.
central bank could not offset the damage that would result from
falling off the "fiscal cliff." 
    "The market is being very tentative. Investors aren't
willing to commit to anything," said Michael Sprung, president
of Sprung Investment Management.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended up 5.88 points, or 0.05 percent, at 12,046.28.
Banks were almost solely responsible for the positive finish,
after the index traded lower for most of the session.
    "It's a flight to safety. People are looking for safe havens
in the market to park. The dividend yields in the banks are
quite attractive," Sprung said.
    Investors also fretted about Europe after Moody's stripped
France of its triple-A sovereign credit rating, citing an
uncertain fiscal outlook and deteriorating economy. 
    "It reinforces the point that Europe has not solved its
problems. The bad news continues," said Gavin Graham, president
of Graham Investment Strategy.
    "The growth-oriented sectors - whether it is energy,
resources, industrials - are all getting thumped because people
are worried about the outlook for global growth."
    The index's materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
was down 0.4 percent. Silver Wheaton Corp lost 1.3
percent to C$36.28 and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd fell 1.5
percent to C$54.36.
    Industrial stocks were off 0.6 percent and energy stocks
edged lower, tracking a dip in oil prices. Cenovus Energy Inc
 fell 1.1 percent to C$32.62, and Talisman Energy Inc
 fell 2.4 percent to C$11.03.
    Brent crude fell nearly 2 percent on signs that a
ceasefire was imminent after a week of violence between Israel
and Palestinians in Gaza. 
    Royal Bank of Canada ended up 1.54 percent at
C$57.40, leading the surge in financials. Toronto Dominion Bank
 gained 0.7 percent to C$80.16, and the Bank of Nova
Scotia was up 0.7 percent at C$53.76.    
    BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd also got a
boost, rising 1.2 percent to C$9.70 after a Jefferies analyst
upgraded the company ahead of the launch of its BlackBerry 10
devices at the end of January.
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