(Adds portfolio manager comment on Rona, updates prices)
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index struggled to break even on Wednesday as a bounce in crude oil prices offered only muted support to the resource-linked market, while shares in home retailer Rona Inc almost doubled after a generous takeover deal.
The energy group rebounded from a more than 1 percent fall to be up 1.5 percent as crude prices rallied.
But jitters about global economic growth persisted, weighing on financial and industrial stocks.
Also among major weights were drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, which lost 2.9 percent to C$124.66, and auto parts maker Magna International Inc, which fell 4 percent to C$45.62.
“The sentiment is so god-awful negative. It is impossible for investors to look past their nose,” said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
At 11:19 a.m. EST (1619 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 5.31 points, or 0.04 percent, to 12,447.57. It traded for most of the morning in negative territory after an initial gain.
Gold miners were among the most influential risers on the index, as bullion tested a three-month high.
Barrick Gold Corp added 3.2 percent to C$14.28, Goldcorp Inc gained 4.3 percent to C$16.5, and Yamana Gold Inc rose 7.5 percent to C$2.73.
Rona’s stock jumped from below C$12 to C$22.33, just under the C$24 per share in cash U.S. retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc said it would pay.
“It’s hard to see a rival offer. It makes the most sense,” Schwartz said.
He said energy stocks, which have been pummeled in the last 18 months as crude tumbled, likely won’t recover until oil pushes definitively out of its funk.
“The only thing that makes people run out and buy resource names is thinking of the cash flow they’ll produce when they get back to a level that is normal,” he said.
U.S. crude prices were up 4.9 percent to $31.35 a barrel, while Brent crude added 4.9 percent to $34.33.
Gold futures rose 1.1 percent to $1,139.6 an ounce, while copper added 2 percent to $4,640 a tonne. (Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish)