December 19, 2012 / 10:33 PM / 6 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX gets lift from financials, resources; RIM eyed

* TSX closes up 69.29 points, or 0.56 percent, at 12,403.63
    * Nine of the 10 main index groups higher
    * Financials up 1.16 pct, materials up 0.4 pct, energy up
0.36 pct

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
finished higher on Wednesday with banks and resource stocks
leading the way, bucking a decline in U.S. equities, which fell
on waning optimism over a timely resolution to the U.S. budget
     With less than two weeks left to avert automatic U.S. tax
increases and spending cuts that threaten to throw the economy
back in recession, talks between congressional Republicans and
the White House have stalled. 
    Global markets have generally rallied and retreated on the
tides of investor sentiment over the budget talks in Washington.
    "It's very weird because the U.S. kind of keeled over today 
over worries that there won't be enough to time to seal a deal.
Toronto kind of shrugged that off," said Barry Schwartz, vice
president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
    "Maybe people decided to do a little bit of early Christmas
shopping and take advantage of the fact that the TSX has gone
essentially nowhere this year," he said. "Especially some of
those commodity stocks have gone worse than nowhere. They've
been detrimental to your portfolio."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 finished up 69.29 points, or 0.56 percent, at
12,403.63. Nine of the index's main groups were positive.
    "Traders are not exactly sure which way to go," said Gareth
Watson, vice president, investment management and research, at
Richardson GMP. "There's probably more optimism involved here
than a couple of weeks ago. But still definitely a lot of
caution out there."
    Financial stocks were up 1.16 percent. Royal Bank of Canada
 was the biggest gainer, up 1.14 percent at C$60.53.
Toronto-Dominion Bank followed with a 1.19 percent rise
to C$83.10.
    "The banks look great," said Schwartz. "Most banks had a
record year in 2012. It's hard to come up with a scenario that's
going to derail it."
    Energy stocks rose 0.36 percent, with Transcanada Corp
 up 1.01 percent at C$46.79. Oil prices rose on
expectations that the U.S. budget crisis would be resolved,
heading off the threat of recession in the world's top oil
    Materials were up 0.4 percent. First Quantum Minerals Ltd
 led with a 7.32 percent rise to C$21.55. 
    Technology stocks gained 0.91 percent, tracking U.S.
technology shares following strong results from Oracle Corp.
    Looking ahead, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion,
which reports quarterly results on Thursday, finished up 0.15
percent at C$13.49, after earlier climbing nearly 1.8 percent.
    "Obviously we don't want to see them burning through cash,
we don't want to see them losing subscribers ... but nothing
counts until we get confirmation that the BB10 takes off," said
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