March 12, 2008 / 4:09 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks little changed in see-saw session

(Updates stock movement, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) -The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index dipped slightly lower in choppy action on Wednesday as banking shares climbed but investors remained wary of the outlook for credit markets.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 20.24 points, or 0.15 percent, at 13,324.29 at midday with three of its 10 main sectors in negative territory. The benchmark had earlier fallen by a just over 100 points before briefly rallying to the upside.

Investors were cautious after Tuesday’s move by the Bank of Canada and other central banks to boost liquidity in international credit markets as opinions were mixed on whether the bailout would be enough to ease credit problems and stave off a U.S. recession.

“There was a lot of analyst or economic reports out this morning about the (Federal Reserve’s) $200 billion injection yesterday as being helpful to treat the symptoms but not an underlying cure for what ails the financial markets right now,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.

On the upside, the financial sector rose 0.9 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) added 70 Canadian cents, or 1.1 percent, to C$64.55 and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) 72 Canadian cents, or 1.6 percent, to C$45.80

Viterra VT.TO rose C$1.17, or 9.4 percent, to C$13.57 after the grain handler reported a net profit for the quarter, helped by strong sales of farm supplies and higher margins. The consumer staples group was up 1.8 percent.

The heavyweight energy sector led the downside, falling 1.5 percent amid profit-taking while the price of oil eased away from the record high of over $109 a barrel.

Petro-Canada PCA.TO fell 65 Canadian cents, or 1.4 percent, to C$46.40 and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) slid C$2.01, or 1.9 percent, to C$104.95.

Elsewhere, holiday travel company Transat AT Inc TRZb.TO gave up C$1.66, or 6.4 percent, at C$24.41 after it reported a first-quarter loss, hurt by a writedown related to holdings in asset-backed commercial paper.

The composite index surged almost 340 points on Tuesday after the central banks’ actions, its biggest one-day gain in 1-1/2 months. It has been drifting lower since the end of February.

“I think so long as we can hold it together today, and close the market up, I think we’ll probably see a heightened level of confidence that the market can progress and move forward,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.

$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson

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