*TSX edges up 0.05 percent to 13,719.67
*Suncor rises as Q4 profit triples, tops market
*Gold miners are main drag
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was little changed on Wednesday morning as a rally in energy shares, spurred by forecast-beating results from Suncor Energy (SU.TO), was offset by declining gold miners.
Suncor, Canada’s biggest energy company, rose after it said fourth-quarter profit almost tripled, helped by improved margins and higher refined product sales. [ID:nN01139180]
It pared early gains, but was still up 1.35 percent at C$42.17.
The index’s energy group was up 0.2 percent. Other oil and gas advancers included Talisman Energy TLM.TO, up 0.69 percent at C$23.20, and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), up 0.23 percent at C$44.10.
Gold mining shares fell as the price of the precious metal eased after well-received U.S. economic data and a spate of upbeat corporate earnings deflected interest from bullion towards higher-risk, higher-yielding assets.
The index’s materials group, home to gold miners, was down 0.13 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) shed 1.34 percent to C$47.20, while Goldcorp (G.TO) fell 0.91 percent to C$40.42.
At 10:42 a.m. (1542 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 7.05 points, or 0.05 percent, at 13,719.67. Six of the index’s 10 main groups were lower, however.
“The environment is still very good for share prices,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. “We have low interest rates, earnings that are doing better than expected — Suncor is a good case in point — and I think valuations are reasonable. You add that all together and you make for a good market, which we’re having.”
In economic news, U.S. private employers added 187,000 jobs in January, topping forecasts, according to a private report. The data adds to the recent run of stronger figures that suggest the global economic recovery is gaining speed. [ID:nN02187589]
In individual company news, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) rose 1.53 percent to C$3.99 after it revealed plans to raise annual output at Zambia’s largest copper mine to 400,000 tonnes a year by 2015 from 250,000 tonnes. [ID:nLDE7110QM]
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)