TSX ekes out gain with rebound in financial stocks

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index eked out a slight gain on Thursday, as financial stocks recovered somewhat after a two-day selloff, while gold miners weighed as bullion turned lower.

FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE touched a five-month low in morning trade but ended the day up 3.52 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,277.20. Decliners outnumbers advancers by a 1.4-to-1 ratio overall.

The index had slumped on Wednesday as global markets worried that U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-business economic agenda could be slowed by political scandals.

“People are perhaps a little less risk-averse today,” said Manash Goswami, a portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management. “The selloff might have been overdone and people are reevaluating and looking to come back in a little bit.”

Shares of the country's largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, rose 1.1 percent to C$92.42 and its biggest life insurer, Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO, jumped 1.7 percent to C$23.10.

While eight of the index’s 10 main sectors rose, many of the gains were modest and the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.7 percent.

Gold prices edged lower after notching their biggest one-day spike since Britain voted to leave the European Union on Wednesday.

Barrick Gold ABX.TO lost 3.4 percent to C$22.46 and Goldcorp Inc G.TO fell 2.8 percent to C$18.87.

The Trump uncertainty continued to weigh on copper prices, which hit a one-week low, as expectations of U.S. infrastructure spending plans were undermined.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd FM.TO declined 2.6 percent to C$11.56 and HudBay Minerals Inc HBM.TO lost 1.7 percent to C$7.12.

Shares in Bombardier Inc BBDb.TO slipped 0.5 percent to C$2.06 as the U.S. Commerce Department said it was investigating Boeing Co's unfair trade claims against the Canadian planemaker.

The Trump administration also set the clock ticking toward a mid-August start of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico on Thursday as it tries to win better terms for U.S. workers and manufacturers.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Dan Grebler and Alistair Bell