*TSX up 12.03 points at 12,198.74
*Banks down sharply, gold miners rally (Updates with details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index firmed on Friday morning, following the previous session’s 3 percent drop, as fears of another U.S. recession and a financial crisis in Europe were offset by a jump in gold-mining shares as bullion prices hit a new high.
Banks were among the most heavily weighted decliners, down more than 1 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) fell 1.6 percent to C$72.84, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 1.2 percent to C$49.83, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slipped 1.9 percent to C$51.47.
Gold miners climbed nearly 2 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was up 2.4 percent at C$50.48 and Goldcorp (G.TO) advanced 2.1 percent to C$50.48.
“The trade is still defensive right now,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
“A lot of people that argue the way the yield curve has been shifting, how corporate bonds are widening, there are many indicators that are pricing in another recession in the U.S.,” he added.
At 10:10 a.m. (1410), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 12.03 points, or 0.1 percent, at 12,198.74.
Campeau said that due to its heavy weighting in gold shares and relatively stable financials, the TSX has outperformed its U.S. and European counterparts for the past month.
The market was focused on Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s testimony to the House of Commons finance committee on Friday morning.
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)