May 19, 2011 / 9:18 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as banks' rise offsets soft miners

 * Main index rises 0.13 percent to 13,625.09
 * Bank stocks rise heading into next week’s results
 * Weaker metal prices weigh on mining stocks  (Adds analyst comments, company news)
 By Jeffrey Hodgson
 TORONTO, May 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed little changed on Thursday as gains in financial shares ahead of bank earnings next week were offset by softer mining issues, which followed metal prices lower.
 Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), up 0.55 percent at C$83.97, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), which rose 0.26 percent to C$58.55, were among the most influential gainers.
 Financial stocks as a whole rose 0.41 percent and played the biggest role of any sector helping the index strengthen.
 “There’s been a lot of people talking about dividend increases in the banks. I don’t think you’re going to see it,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.
 “I think that’s what’s driven them. The earnings are going to be OK. I don’t think they’re going to be spectacular.”
 The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 17.84 points, or 0.13 percent, at 13,625.09.
 The materials sector, which accounts for about 22 percent of the index’s value and includes heavyweight mining stocks, fell 0.38 percent and was the biggest drag on the market.
 Influential decliners included Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, (POT.TO), down 2.92 percent at C$51.93, and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO), which fell 0.72 percent to C$46.86.
 Gold, silver and copper prices all fell as weak U.S. housing and manufacturing data and uncertainty about the end of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program dragged down commodities across the board. [GOL/] [MET/L]
 The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark, fell 1.43 percent.
 “This is a consolidation. The sectors that are dragging today are just the sectors that outperformed so dramatically yesterday,” said Hutcheon, who added he was still optimistic about the Canadian market’s longer-term outlook.
 The decline in materials and energy stocks, which fell 0.1 percent, came after both sectors helped lead the market more than 1 percent higher on Wednesday.
 Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, said many investors may also be limiting buying ahead of the release of key economic data. Influential numbers include Canadian inflation data out on Friday. ECONCA
 In individual company news, Air Canada’s ACb.TO class B shares fell more than 2 percent to C$2.34 after pilots rejected a tentative labor agreement, sending the union and the airline back to bargaining. [ID:nN19112126]
 Shares of Pan American Silver PAA.TO fell 0.88 percent to C$31.47 after the miner reported lower-than-expected silver production, even though its quarterly profit rose more than threefold, beating analyst expectations. [ID:nN19132894]
 Units of RioCan REI_u.TO Real Estate Investment Trust fell 0.81 percent to C$25.59 after results from Canada’s largest landlord of retail space fell short of expectations, although executives suggested it could hike its payout next year. [ID:nL4E7GJ26E]
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)  (Editing by Peter Galloway)                                        

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