Toronto stocks flat as banks and Valeant lend support

Businessmen pass the Toronto Stock Exchange sing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Wednesday as gains among banks and shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc were offset by declines in the energy sector.

* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index finished up 6.47 points, or 0.04 percent, at 15,653.61.

* Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals jumped 5.4 percent to C$21.98 after Health Canada approved its drug for plaque psoriasis.

* The financials group, which accounts for about a third of the index gained 0.1 percent. Among the gainers, Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.7 percent to C$81.88, while Bank of Montreal edged up 0.3 percent at C$98.36.

* But a 0.3 percent retreat in the energy sector sector dampened the overall market. Suncor Energy Inc was one of the biggest drags on the index, down 0.3 percent at C$42.16 after the company said its Syncrude oil sands project in northern Alberta would run at reduced rates in the first quarter due to maintenance.

* Elsewhere, Teck Resources rose 1.5 percent to C$35.49 after India’s Steel Minister said state-owned Steel Authority of India was in talks with Teck for long-term purchase agreements.

* The TSX posted seven new 52-week highs and five new lows. Volume on the TSX index was 167.11 million shares.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Shumaker