Gold miners keep TSX buoyed in quiet holiday trading

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended slightly higher on Wednesday as gold mining stocks lead gains in quiet trading.

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

Activity was lighter than usual due to the post-Christmas shortened week.

“I’d be careful about reading too, too much into moves one way or the other on days like today. Canada volumes are off about 40 percent from where they generally are,” said Ian Scott, equity analyst at Manulife Asset Management. “Small volumes, so certain stocks are having outsized moves.”

Gold companies dominated the index's top 10 most influential movers. Barrick Gold ABX.TO rose 5.2 percent to C$20.71, and Goldcorp Inc G.TO climbed 4.8 percent to C$17.85.

The overall materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 3.3 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 32.95 points, or 0.21 percent, to 15,361.1.

Of the index’s 10 main groups, half were in positive territory.

Energy stocks climbed 0.3 percent, bolstered in part by crude prices that remained near 2015 highs.

The group's advance were offset, however, by Enbridge Inc's ENB.TO 1.0 percent drop to C$56.99 and TransCanada Corp's TRP.TO 1.0 percent fall to C$60.98.

The Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO rose 0.2 percent to C$76.22, but the overall financials group, which make up more than a third of the index's weight could not sustain earlier gains and slipped 0.2 percent.

The TSX’s moves were in contrast to U.S. stocks, which saw its largest drop in two months, triggered in part by a sharp drop in U.S. home resales. [.N]

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the TSX by 155 to 90, for a 1.72-to-1 ratio on the upside. The index was posting 10 new 52-week highs and no new lows.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Lisa Shumaker