May 15, 2015 / 3:23 PM / 3 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as energy, financials offset wider gains

(Updates throughout with fresh details, analyst comment, market reaction)

* TSX up 4.17 points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,032.29

* Eight of the TSX’s 10 main groups were up

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, May 15 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Friday as losses in the financial and energy sectors offset gains across an otherwise positive market.

Energy stocks were hit by slumping crude prices, which fell on reports that an increasing oversupply of oil was boosting global inventories.

Encana Corp was among the most influential decliners. Shares fell 2.67 percent to C$16.06. Overall, energy stocks, which make up a hefty 20 percent of the index, retreated 0.4 percent. U.S. crude was down 0.8 percent to $59.41, while Brent crude lost 0.5 percent to $66.36.

“A lot of investors have piled into the energy sector. It’s time to leave, they’re going back down again. That’s an unsustainable rise,” said Norman Levine, managing director at Portfolio Management Corporation, noting the extensive short- covering in the sector.

“Investors would be wise to lighten up, if not totally exit energy stocks for now.”

At 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up a marginal 4.17 points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,032.29.

Of the index’s 10 main groups, two were in retreat. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the TSX by a 1.16-to-1 ratio on the upside.

Financial shares were also hit, with half of the most important movers on the downside belonging to that group. Stocks in the sector slid 0.4 percent.

Toronto Dominion Bank fell 0.6 percent to C$55.15, and Manulife Financial Corp lost 1.0 percent to C$22.51.

“We think the headwinds for Canadian banks are such that they will underperform,” said Levine, but added that life insurance companies will be major beneficiaries when bond yields go higher, noting that bond yields have generally been rising since early April.

The materials group, home to mining companies, led gains, with Potash Corp up 1.7 percent at C$39.37. Industrials were up 0.7 percent, with Canadian National Railway Co rising 1.4 percent to C$74.57. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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