January 29, 2010 / 4:11 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX choppy after upbeat GDP data

* TSX up 0.33 percent at 11,311.20

* Energy sector up; Suncor leads gainers

* Royal Bank leads financials down

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was little changed on Friday after surprisingly positive Canadian and U.S. GDP data was offset by weakness in financials.

Oil jumped to above $74 per barrel after data showed U.S. economy grew a faster than expected 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the quickest pace in more than six years.

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), Canada’s largest oil company, led the index gainers, adding 1.14 percent at C$34.73, after a boost in commodity prices.

“We’re still in that area where financials, materials and oil and gas are the three areas where we have heavy weightings,” said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.

On the downside, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s largest financial institution, was the top decliner, down 0.73 percent at C$53.09.

“The financials have been weak lately, whether it’s Mr. Obama and the U.S. banks and all that foofaraw that’s going on down there,” said Kinsey.

President Barack Obama has move to introduce tighter regulations on U.S. banks that would limit financial risk-taking, which that could also affect Canadian banking operations south of the border.

Kinsey noted that banks have fallen significantly from their high last year. Toronto’s financial index .SPTTFS, which is heavily weighted in bank shares, is down almost 8 percent since late September 2009.

At 10:25 a.m. (1525 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 37 points, or 0.33 percent at 11,311.20, after opening in negative territory.

Potash Corp (POT.TO), fell 0.77 percent to C$110.40 as the world’s largest fertilizer maker continued its slide from Thursday when it fell 4.55 percent after reporting earnings and a profit outlook well below market expectations.

Kinsey said the choppy morning session is also a result of investors being reluctant to take on large positions at the end of the month.

“So far, it kind of looks like it’s just going to be quiet,” he said.

“It’s not an important month like the calendar quarters but the institutions and so on do some window dressing to change things and sort of get it the way they want.”

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson

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