February 13, 2009 / 4:19 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed as oils up, insurers fall

* Insurers drop after reporting results

* Energy shares gain on rise in crude price (Adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was little changed on Friday morning as gains in energy shares on higher crude prices balanced declining materials and financial issues.

Financial shares were being pressured by big insurers Sun Life (SLF.TO) and Manulife (MFC.TO), which reported weak results on Thursday, while the mining-heavy materials group was led lower by the easing price of gold.

At 10:45 a.m. (1524 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 0.58 points to 8,778.20. Six of the index’s main groups were lower, while four climbed. The index fell nearly 70 points early in the session.

“I think it’s just a lot of indecision,” Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

“The news is still more on the bad than in the good. It’s an atmosphere for short-selling and indecision, but you see whenever there is a bit of positive news...there’s a quick rally up.”

The TSX turned around late in the session on Thursday, spurred by news that the Obama administration was working on a program to subsidize mortgage payments for financially troubled U.S. homeowners. Investors were on the lookout for further details of the plan on Friday. [ID:nN12553515]

Focus may also turn to a vote in the U.S. Congress to pass the $789 billion package of economic stimulus measures.

Among stocks pressuring the index were Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), down 2.1 percent at C$47.51, and Research In Motion RIM.TO, down 4.5 percent at C$60.23.

Financials were weighed down by Sun Life and Manulife the day after they reported weaker quarterly results and saw their share price targets cut and credit ratings reviewed. Sun Life fell 3.8 percent to C$22.27, while Manulife (MFC.TO) dropped 1.65 percent to C$17.90.

On the earnings front, Canada’s No. 2 telephone company, Telus Corp (T.TO), fell 1.5 percent to C$34.50 after it reported a drop in quarterly profit. [ID:nN13515800]

Enbridge (ENB.TO) was up 0.5 percent to C$41.81 as fourth-quarter profit rose and the pipeline firm said it expected 20 percent growth in earnings per share in 2009 [ID:nN13318295]

Brookfield Asset Management (BAMa.TO) was up 4.8 percent at C$19.60 after the company reported strong cash flow excluding disposition gains. [ID:nWNAB2653]

Shares of Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) fell 4.3 percent at the market open after one of its Dash 8 Q400 turboprop aircraft crashed late Thursday near Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people.

$1=$1.24 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway

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