TSX nudges higher, led by materials as gold firms

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Monday, led by gains for the materials group as gold rose, while lower oil prices weighed on the shares of energy companies.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.9 percent.

Teck Resources Ltd rose 3.7 percent to C$25.56, while Barrick Gold Corp was up 1.3 percent at C$20.86.

Spot gold firmed 0.4 percent as the U.S. dollar dipped after reaching an earlier seven-month high.

“Long term, I think gold will benefit ... from people wanting to have an investment position of some security,” said Douglas Davis, vice chairman at Davis-Rea, who expects financial sector and geopolitical uncertainties to weigh on the stock market over the coming months.

Heavyweight financial sector stocks edged 0.1 higher, while the utilities group was up 0.6 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 11.53 points, or 0.08 percent, at 14,596.52.

Five of the index’s 10 main groups ended in positive territory.

The chief executive officer of Rogers Communications Inc, Guy Laurence, is stepping down effective immediately and will be replaced by former Telus Corp executive Joe Natale, the Canadian telecom company said. The surprise move came as Rogers also posted a sharp fall in net income after it shut down the streaming television joint venture Shomi.

Its shares dipped 0.2 percent to C$54.21.

Energy fell 0.3 percent, pressured by lower oil prices.

U.S. crude oil futures settled down 41 cents at $49.94 a barrel as oversupply concerns weighed. [O/R]

“The big trend,” is higher for energy stocks, said Davis, who expects oil prices to climb in anticipation of demand and supply coming back into balance.

Investor advisory company Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has recommended that investors in fertilizer producers Agrium Inc and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan support a merger of the companies.

Agrium fell 1.8 percent to C$115.53 and Potash declined 1.4 percent to C$20.75.

Foreign investment in Canadian securities in August rose to C$12.74 billion from C$9.10 billion in July. Foreigners invested C$2.60 billion in stocks and C$1.17 billion in corporate paper.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Lisa Shumaker