TSX edges higher ahead of U.S. election result

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main share index edged higher on Tuesday as gains for materials and financials shares offset a sharp drop in a major drugmaker while investors braced for the outcome of one of the most contentious U.S. presidential elections in history.

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

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.6 percent, and the heavyweight financial sector firmed 0.2 percent.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO slumped 21.9 percent to C$19.92 after the drugmaker cut guidance for the year and warned that 2017 could be even more challenging as some products face new competition.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc POT.TO rose 3.8 percent to C$22.76 and First Quantum Minerals Ltd FM.TO jumped 8.4 percent to C$13.66.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 4.39 points, or 0.03 percent, at 14,656.84. Six of the index's 10 main groups ended in positive territory.

The index posted its biggest gain in nearly three weeks on Monday, helped by an announcement by the FBI on Sunday that it had not changed its conclusion that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should not be charged over her use of a private email server.

The former U.S. Secretary of State, seen by investors as offering greater certainty and stability, has a 90 percent chance of defeating Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to the final Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll released on Monday, one day before Americans voted in the election.

“On the surface it looks like the market is just waiting to see election results tonight, but there is quite a bit going on underneath that in Canada,” said Ian Scott, equity analyst, Manulife Asset Management.

On Tuesday, the utilities sector fell 0.6 percent and telecom rose less than 0.1 percent as bond yields rose.

Those sectors have benefited from a low interest rate environment, so any monetary policy tightening hurts them, Scott said.

The energy group retreated 0.3 percent as oil prices ended little changed. U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled up 9 cents at 44.98 a barrel. [O/R]

Industrials fell 0.2 percent, including losses for railroad stocks.

The value of Canadian building permits fell by the most in eight months in September, driven by a decline in construction intentions for commercial buildings, though residential plans rose, data from Statistics Canada showed. ECONCA

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao and Alan Crosby