TSX barely higher as banks, gold miners shine

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was barely higher in morning trade on Monday, as financial stocks and gold miners gained along with bond yields and bullion, while energy names fell as oil prices slipped.

Passersby watch the performance of stocks on a financial news television screen in the business district of Toronto, Canada, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Among the most influential gainers were the index’s sizable gold mining group, with Barrick Gold rising 1.4 percent to C$25.02 and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd up 1.3 percent to C$64.97.

Gold climbed to its highest in nearly three months as worries about the political landscape in the United States and Europe and a subdued dollar reinforced investor interest in the precious metal.

The index’s materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.5 percent.

The heavyweight financials group gained 0.3 percent as bond yields rose, with the country’s largest lender Royal Bank of Canada up 0.9 percent at C$95.43.

Canada’s financial sector got a boost on Friday from U.S. President Donald Trump’s signal that looser banking regulation is coming there. Many companies in the sector are active in the United States

At 10:32 a.m. ET (1532 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 2.14 points, or 0.01 percent, at 15,478.53.

Advancers outnumbered decliners by a 1.3-to-1 ratio overall, while six of the 10 main group moved higher.

Enbridge Inc fell 1.3 percent to C$56.29 and fellow pipeline company TransCanada lost 0.8 percent to C$61.99, while major energy producer Canadian Natural Resources declined 0.8 percent to C$39.59.

The energy group retreated 0.6 percent, as oil prices slipped on a stronger dollar and ample U.S. supplies that outweighed OPEC output curbs and rising tensions between the United States and Iran. [O/R]

Pharmaceutical company Prometic Life Sciences Inc advanced 3.8 percent to C$2.18 after it said California Capital Equity LLC had exercised share purchase warrants in the company as it prepares for its first commercial launch in 2017.

Trade data for December is due on Tuesday, after Canada achieved its first trade surplus in more than two years in November.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli