CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as 'fiscal cliff' fear dents China hope

Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:11pm EST

* TSX up 2.82 points at 12,199.62
    * Energy and materials fall, financials rise

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed in quiet trade on Monday as concerns about the
possibility of a fiscal crisis in the United States offset
encouraging Chinese economic data.
    With U.S. and Canadian bond markets closed for the Veterans
Day and Remembrance Day holidays, activity was light and was
expected to remain so through the day.
    Energy and gold-mining shares were among the top laggards on
the index as the underlying commodity prices fell.  
    Miner Goldcorp Inc was down 1.3 percent at C$43.71
and oil producer Canadian Natural Resources lost 1.3
percent to C$28.10.
    Overall, Canadian shares took their cue from uncertainty on
Wall Street over whether the United States can avoid the "fiscal
cliff," a combination of government spending cuts and tax
increases set to go into effect early next year, threatening a
recession, unless Congress and the White House reach a deal to
avoid it.
    "People are still a little bit confused and they're kind of
waiting I think to see what Mr. Obama is going to do," said John
Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. "Everybody is
kind of hoping that he learned some lessons anyway from his last
term and that he will try to get along perhaps and get some of
this stuff done."
    At 12:42 p.m. (1642 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 2.82 points at
12,199.62, after briefly turning negative. 
    The index started the day on slightly firmer ground after
data showed Chinese exports picked up sharply in October,
signaling the giant economy was gathering strength.
 
    Six of the TSX's 10 sectors were higher, including
financials, up 0.4 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank rose
0.8 percent to C$80.72, and Bank of Nova Scotia was up
0.4 percent to C$54.03.
    Market gains were also seen as being limited by a meeting of
euro zone finance ministers in Brussels to discuss the Greek
bailout program.
    The euro zone will not release a new loan tranche to Greece
despite the country's tough 2013 budget as there is no agreement
yet on how to make its debt sustainable, but Athens is set to
get two more years to cut debt, officials said. 
    In individual company news, Research In Motion rose
2.7 percent to C$8.79 after announcing it plans to introduce its
long-delayed BlackBerry 10 platform and devices on Jan. 30.