TSX ekes out gain on busy, mixed earnings day

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index eked out a small gain on Thursday, helped by positive earnings surprises from Teck Resources and others, while disappointment over Potash Corp’s dividend and outlook cut and other earnings misses weighed.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The two materials stocks were emblematic of the mixed picture emerging from Canada’s earnings season.

Potash Corp POT.TO fell 7.2 percent to C$20.95 after cutting its full-year profit forecast and dividend for a second time this year.

Meanwhile, Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO, the largest producer of steelmaking coal in North America, gained 6.6 percent to C$20.19 after reporting a surprise quarterly profit as its costs declined.

“Teck was the exact opposite of Cameco and Potash,” said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.

Uranium producer Cameco Corp CCO.TO slumped 11.1 percent to C$12.47 after reporting a surprise quarterly loss due to weak uranium demand and prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE settled up 6.18 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,552.72.

Half its 10 main sectors were higher, with advancers outnumbering decliners by 1.3 to 1.

Other influential movers included Cenovus Energy Inc CVE.TO, which rose 6.7 percent to C$18.67 after posting a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, and pipeline operator TransCanada TRP.TO, up 1.5 percent to C$60.35 after reporting a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit.

“Most of the energy companies, the good ones with the good balance sheets and strong technology, are doing well even though oil has been down four days in a row now,” Kinsey said.

Oil prices settled down nearly 2 percent, pushing U.S. crude toward its biggest monthly loss in a year, on growing worries that the world was pumping more crude than needed.

The energy group climbed 1.1 percent despite the fall in crude, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.6 percent.

Goldcorp Inc G.TO fell 6.2 percent to C$23.36 after posting a far bigger second-quarter net loss than expected late on Wednesday, as production fell by almost one-third.

“That the market didn’t like,” Kinsey said.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by James Dalgleish