TSX edges higher, helped by gains for resource stocks

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index edged higher on Tuesday as a jump in oil prices supported energy stocks, while the materials group also advanced, offsetting deep losses for one of the country’s major railway stocks.

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

The index traded in a narrow range ahead of the Federal Reserve interest rate announcement on Wednesday.

Investors have been “walking on eggshells,” adjusting positions ahead of the Fed announcement, said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

He doesn’t see a lot of “downside” risk for the market while bond yields remain so low.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 13.45 points, or 0.1 percent, at 13,809.44.

It has rallied nearly 20 percent since January, but has been unable to climb back above 14,000.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.3 percent, led by gold stocks after weaker-than-expected U.S. durable goods data supported gold.

Goldcorp Inc rose 3.3 percent to C$22.18, while Barrick Gold Corp was up 1.4 percent to C$20.78.

The shares of Teck Resources Ltd rose 4.8 percent to C$13.69. The miner reported a surprise quarterly profit as cost-cutting measures and a weak Canadian dollar helped cushion the impact of lower coal and copper prices.

Energy stocks advanced 0.7 percent, including a 1 percent gain for Canadian Natural Resources Ltd to C$38.55, while Encana Corporation jumped 6.9 percent to C$9.65.

U.S. crude futures settled up $1.40, or 3.3 percent, at $44.04 a barrel.

Bombardier Inc rose 10.6 percent to C$1.99. The company said a unit of Nova Scotia-based Chorus Aviation Inc has signed an agreement to buy five CRJ900 aircraft with an option to buy an additional five.

Thomson Reuters Corp rose 1.5 percent to C$52.56 after it reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on improved results in its main business of providing news and analytics to financial companies.

However, the shares of Canadian National Railway Co fell 5.1 percent to C$78.57 after the company lowered on Monday its full-year earnings forecast, citing weaker-than-expected freight demand in some markets and a strengthening Canadian dollar.

Husky Energy declined more than 9 percent to C$15.93. The oil and gas producer reported a first-quarter loss on Monday and said it has agreed to sell a partial interest in a package of Canadian midstream energy assets to two Hong Kong-based firms for C$1.7 billion ($1.34 billion) in cash.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bill Trott and James Dalgleish