* TSX edges up 0.06 percent to 12,211.52
* UPS results lift transport shares; CN Rail up 1.8 pct
* Data points to slow U.S. recovery (Updates to close)
TORONTO, April 15 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished a touch higher on Thursday after a seesaw session as mixed economic news offset the influence of strong earnings from UPS in the United States.
Upbeat results and a strong profit forecast from United Parcel Service (UPS.N) late on Wednesday helped boost overall sentiment as it was the latest in a string of major U.S. companies to report solid earnings.
Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier said the results from economic bellwether UPS were well received in Canada.
“That’s confirmation also that the global economy is on the mend. It hasn’t fully healed, but it’s certainly on the mend,” he said.
On the economic front, U.S. data pointed to a relatively slow economic recovery. Figures showed U.S. manufacturers ramped up production to rebuild inventories in April but weekly labor numbers remained soft. [ID:nN15325702]
But China reported economic growth accelerated in the first quarter to 11.9 percent, the fastest annual pace in nearly three years. [ID:nTOE63D091]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended higher for a second straight session, up 7.11 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,211.52. The index opened in negative territory but quickly turned higher, rising to a near 19-month high, then paring most of the gains.
“We’ve been all over the the map on the TSX and it looks like we’re back to square one,” said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
But Picardo said the sentiment overall was positive as the likelihood of a double-dip recession has receded markedly, and upcoming earnings reports are likely to confirm the extent and scope of the recovery.
Weakening oil prices also cut into the overall index’s gains on Thursday, with the energy group falling 0.35 percent. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) dropped 0.8 percent to C$34.81, while Husky Energy (HSE.TO) fell 2.32 percent to C$29.43.
Materials also reversed early strength, down 0.25 percent, as metal prices had a mixed day, with gold on the rise, but copper lower.
Nakamoto said the direction of the TSX index will now depend on major company earnings, which start rolling in next week.
“I think there’s a bit of nervousness to see how they report and, more importantly, what they say about the future.”
$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway