TORONTO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was slightly lower on Tuesday, with shares in oil and gas companies weighing and consumer stocks helping keep the index near its previous close.
The Toronto Stock Exchange was closed on Monday, a public holiday in most of Canada, when U.S. indexes slipped on weaker oil prices.
Oil prices steadied on Tuesday, but failed to lift the Toronto market’s oil and gas sector. Among the big decliners in the group, pipeline company TransCanada Corp lost 1.5 percent to C$50.09 and major producer Suncor Energy Inc fell 1 percent to C$36.48.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 6.68 points, or 0.05 percent, at 14,461.76 by 11:00 a.m (1500 GMT).
The index has bounced back up since breaking below 14,000 in late July, but remains one of the worst performing global indexes so far this year, hurt by slumping oil prices and worries about slowing economic growth and stock market turmoil in China.
“China’s hurting all these commodities and if there’s more of a flare up there it will be reflected in our market because it’s so heavily commodity-weighted,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.
Half of the index’s 10 main groups were in negative territory, although both the consumer discretionary and consumer staples groups gained more than 1 percent.
Auto parts maker Magna International Inc rose 2.5 percent to C$72.83 and convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard gained 2 percent to C$59.51.
Decliners outnumbered advancing stocks by 140 to 101, for a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the downside.
Kinsey said he is focused on upcoming quarterly results from a range of companies including Magna, telecom companies BCE Inc and Telus Corp, insurer Sun Life Financial Inc , energy company Canadian Natural Resources and retailer Canadian Tire Corp.
“What we look for is forward guidance toward the next quarter and the balance of the year,” he said. “A lot of the companies are a little reluctant now to give that now because everything is so volatile.”
$1=$1.31 Canadian Editing by Peter Galloway