February 14, 2008 / 3:46 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks little changed, but oils climb

(Updates numbers, adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was little changed on Thursday morning with oil and gas shares pulling higher but investors remaining uncertain over the state of the U.S. economy.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 16.65 points, or 0.13 percent, at 13,298.95 with six of its sectors in positive territory.

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) helped the energy sector pull higher after the company posted a 63 percent jump in profit. EnCana, Canada’s largest oil and gas company, was up C$1.11, or 1.6 percent, at C$71.11, while the sector overall rose 1 percent.

Also in the oil patch, Nexen Inc NXY.TO added 72 Canadian cents, or 2.5 percent, to C$29.99 after it said profit more than doubled on rising commodity prices.

A gain in oil prices added to the sector’s upward momentum due to worries over supply. Crude rose 97 cents to $94.24 a barrel.

But the Toronto benchmark remained range-bound as investors kept their eyes south of the border and on congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Bernanke said that the Fed will act as necessary to help the struggling U.S. economy but that growth should strengthen later in the year.

The financial sector also undercut gains, dipping 0.6 percent. Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO) fell after its fourth-quarter profit rose slightly but missed expectations. Sun Life lost C$1.56, or 3.2 percent, to C$47.60.

The materials sector edged down 0.1 percent, while its subindex of gold producers dropped 0.7 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) slid 50 Canadian cents, or 1 percent, to C$48.21.

CAE Inc (CAE.TO), which makes flight simulators, rose 55 Canadian cents, or 4.6 percent, to C$12.65 after it reported higher profit on strong demand for its equipment and services.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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