February 26, 2010 / 10:27 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges lower on day but ends February higher

* TSX dips 0.02 percent to 11,629.63

* Up 4.8 percent on the month

* Investors sort through mixed U.S. data (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished flat on Friday as key financial and resource shares put in a mixed performance, while U.S. economic data reinforced views of tepid growth this year.

The U.S. economy grew a touch faster than initially thought in the fourth quarter, soothing recent concerns about the robustness of the rebound. [ID:nN26169261] But data that showed the U.S. housing market has not yet fully stabilized and that consumer sentiment is weakening left the market feeling cautious. [ID:nN26167386] [ID:nN26171094]

Top decliners included Potash Corp (POT.TO), down 1.7 percent at C$116.00, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), down 0.68 percent at C$56.81. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) fell 0.94 percent to C$70.88.

Heavyweight advancers included Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), up 0.6 percent at C$67.24, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), up 1.03 percent at C$56. Nexen NXY.TO gained 2.28 percent to C$23.75.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended down 1.81 points, or 0.02 percent, at 11,629.63. Half of the index’s 10 main sectors were lower, including the hefty financials group. The index is down 0.68 percent on the week.

For the month, the index ended up 4.8 percent, a solid rebound from a dismal January, when it fell more than 5 percent.

“I‘m surprised at the weakness today but I can’t complain -- the market is up about 5 percent on the month,” said Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

First Uranium FIU.TO was among active issues on Friday, dropping more than 15 percent to C$1.53 after it said it was still experiencing severe financial constraints despite the reinstatement of permits at a South African mining project. [ID:nLDE61P09J]

Next week’s trading will likely be driven by more quarterly results from the banks after Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) posted solid growth.

“We should expect more of the same from the other banks,” said Schwartz, who said he was looking for outlook on when the banks may raise their dividends.

Other events next week include the Bank of Canada’s rate decision on Tuesday and the presentation of the federal budget on Thursday. [ID:nN25256606] [ID:nN25121224]

Sovereign debt worries in Greece continue to linger, said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. But Canada’s wealth in resources such as energy or metals was a strong offsetting factor that should support the TSX going forward.

“Canada is still a great place to invest in. Canada has what the worlds wants, and Canada doesn’t have what the world doesn’t want,” he said.

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway and Rob Wilson

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