* TSX edges up 0.08 percent to finish at 11,807.50
* Rising materials offset by declining financials
* Disappointing data raises recovery concerns (Adds details, further analyst comment)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, June 23 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended slightly higher on Wednesday in a volatile session session marked by disappointing data and mixed commodity prices.
Gold companies, despite soft gold prices, were the main source of strength in the materials group, which was up 1.21 percent to lead six advancing sectors of the index’s 10 main groups.
Many other key resources were lower, including the price of oil, which dropped almost 2 percent on Wednesday. Even so, the energy group eked out a 0.07 percent gain, with a 0.92 percent rise in Suncor Energy (SU.TO) to C$34.04, while Husky Energy (HSE.TO) advanced 0.78 percent to C$27.01.
But a sharp decline in the financials group, which was off 0.9 percent, limited the overall index’s gains. Canada’s five biggest banks were all lower, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) down 1.21 percent at C$53.75.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 9.56 points, or 0.08 percent, to finish at 11,807.50.
“Today people are really sitting on the fence and with such thin volumes, it’s a very, very tough market to predict,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
In individual company news, shares of pharmaceuticals company Isotechnika Inc ISA.TO sank more than 30 percent on news the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had canceled a meeting to review a drug application by its partner, Lux Biosciences Inc. [ID:nN23241515]
Magna International MGa.TO gained 2.43 percent to C$72.44. A top executive at the company said on Wednesday a majority of the autoparts maker’s Class A shareholders had already voted to support a controversial plan to pay its founder a huge premium to loosen his control. [ID:nN23207943]
Early weakness was largely fueled by data that added to worries of a slowing economic recovery. Canadian retail sales in April dropped by a much sharper than expected 2.0 percent from March, while U.S. sales of new homes fell a record 32.7 percent in May to the lowest level in at least four decades. [ID:nN23208380] [ID:nN23196800]
Those figures follow a string of recent U.S. economic numbers that came in below expectations, including Tuesday’s existing home sales data, market observers say.
The U.S. Federal Reserve acknowledged the faltering pace of the U.S. economic recovery on Wednesday as it renewed its vow to hold benchmark interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period. [ID:nN22150078]
“There’s still a great deal of anxiety. On the one hand, as we see today the Federal Reserve is going to remain very accommodative ... Yet some of the data coming out looks quite weak, such as housing,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
“This tug and pull has been there for awhile. I’d tip the hat towards a recovery.”
Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Mario Di Simine