* TSX up 18.58 points, or 0.13 percent, at 13,929.35
* Seven of the 10 main groups rise
* Index hovers near 31-month highs (Updates with details, comment)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished modestly higher on Tuesday, with gains among gold companies offsetting declines among other miners.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose 1.35 percent to C$48.66, while Goldcorp (G.TO) gaining 1.7 percent to C$43.56.
Bullion prices roses to a four-week high as inflation concerns sparked a technical breakout. The precious metal also found support as Chinese inflation data came in lower than expected, easing concerns that the world’s second-largest economy would have to tighten its monetary policy. Lower interest rates tend to support gold buying. [GOL/]
Offsetting the golds’ gains was a decline among base-metals and fertilizer companies. Potash Corp POT.TO came off its recent run and gave back 3.39 percent to C$60.63. U.S. grain prices fell as sentiment turned bearish amid overbought conditions.
First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) slumped 4.15 percent to 128.15, while Teck Resources TCKb.TO shed 1.36 percent to C$58.00.
Copper prices fell from record highs, posting their biggest one-day slide in three weeks. A day after a bullish 5.7 percent rise in Chinese copper imports, worries about the Asian country’s ability to sustain its rate of growth resurfaced. [MET/L] [ID:nTOE71D037]
The overall materials group, home to a broad spectrum of miners, was up marginally, gaining 0.13 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished 18.58 points, or 0.13 percent higher, at 13,929.35. Seven of the 10 main groups advance.
“The overall index is sort of ho-hum,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
“We’re talking about relatively minor changes within each company ... it’s hard to make a headline story.”
The index hovered around 31-month highs and inched closer to the 14,000-point level.
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)