April 12, 2010 / 9:19 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX eases from 18-month high to end lower

* TSX down 0.23 percent at 12,148.66

* Index touches 18-month high during session

* Gold stocks weigh, commodities weaker

* Canadian Oil Sands rises 5 pct on Syncrude deal (Adds details, comment)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, April 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended down slightly on Monday, pulling back from an 18-month high as initial optimism over a Greek debt deal faded, while retreating metal prices pulled down mining issues.

The index charged to its highest level since September 2008 early in the session after euro zone finance ministers agreed on a 30 billion euro ($40.5 billion) rescue package for Greece.

But after going as high as 12,214.39, the TSX pulled back following cautionary comments from the German finance ministry [ID:nLDE63B0NP] and a retreat in gold and base metals prices.

“The Greece debt story put a bid under the market ... but on the day we’re seeing the commodity stocks a little bit weak,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

“I‘m not seeing too much conviction one way or the other.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 28.18 points, or 0.23 percent, at 12,148.66.

Materials issues fell by 1.0 percent, led by retreating gold producers.

Iamgold (IMG.TO) eased 2.6 percent to C$15.39, while Centerra Gold (CG.TO) slid 2.4 percent to C$11.15.

Overall, half of the TSX index’s 10 main groups finished lower on the day, and none moved by more than 1 percent.

Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities, said investors were likely cautious of bidding the market up too high until they see more signals that corporate profits are rebounding.

“We’ve got the beginnings of the earnings season and people want to take it day by day,” he said.

Alcoa Inc (AA.N), which typically kicks off U.S. earnings period, reported a narrower first-quarter loss after markets closed, but the result met analysts’ forecasts and the company’s shares rose in after-market trading.

Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO which owns 37 percent of the huge Syncrude oil sands project, surged 5 percent to C$32.22 after Chinese state-owned company Sinopec (0386.HK) (SNP.N) said it will buy a 9 percent stake in the project from CononcoPhillips (COP.N) for $4.65 billion.

But as a group, TSX energy stocks fell 0.2 percent on weaker crude oil prices.

Talisman Energy TLM.TO eased 1.5 percent to C$17.44, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) retreated 0.8 percent to C$35.18.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway

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