July 24, 2009 / 8:44 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Financials help TSX limp to higher close

* TSX inches up 0.11 percent to 10,687.90

* Financials turnaround props up overall index

* Materials, energy both finish lower (Adds details, quote)

TORONTO, July 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished marginally higher on Friday, as optimism over the economic recovery buoyed financials but did not extend to most of the other sectors.

A 1.81 percent gain in the heavily weighted financials group, a huge turnaround from the opening bell when it declined sharply, was almost single-handedly responsible for propping up the overall index as most other sectors weighed.

All five big banks and the biggest insurer dominated the influential gainers list, topped by Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), which jumped 3.45 percent to C$45.33. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) followed with a 3.44 percent climb to C$24.64.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 12.22 points, or 0.11 percent, at 10,687.90.

“The market is limping to the finish line today,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.

He said the market “deserves to pause here” after having rallied for much of July already.

Eight of the TSX’s 10 main groups were lower. The utilities group was the only other sector to contribute a bit of support, nudging up 0.29 percent.

But the resource-heavy TSX was held back by the energy and materials groups, which fell 0.82 percent and 0.21 percent, respectively.

Big names on the decline included Suncor Energy (SU.TO), off 3.2 percent at C$35.54, and Petro-Canada PCA.TO, down 3.2 percent at C$45.44. Potash Corp POT.TO, which was a strong advancer in the previous session, handed back some of those gains, falling 0.97 percent to C$103.58.

$1=$1.085 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson

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