CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as bank gains offset Suncor decline

Wed Feb 6, 2013 11:35am EST

* TSX rises 23.09 points, or 0.18 percent, to 12,768.74
    * Eight of 10 main sectors advance
    * Suncor slips 4 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on
Wednesday, with gains in financial and materials stocks
offsetting a decline in Suncor Energy Inc after
unexpectedly weak results.
    Suncor, Canada's largest oil company, posted a
fourth-quarter loss as it wrote down the value of its Voyageur
oil sands upgrading project just weeks before it is due to make
a final decision on whether to build the facility.
 
    The market opened lower on the Suncor news but soon turned
positive.
    "Since the beginning of the year, the money flow into
equities has been triple the money flow into the bond market,"
said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.
    "That money has to go somewhere. And obviously in Canada
it's going into financials," he added.
    Financial stocks, which rose more than 12 percent in 2012,
are up 3.4 percent since the start of the year.
    At midmorning, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index was up 23.09 points, or 0.18 percent,
at 12,768.74. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were
trading higher.
    The financial sector, the index's weightiest, gained 0.5
percent on Wednesday. Royal Bank of Canada added 1.3
percent and played the biggest role in leading the market
higher.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gained
0.1 percent.
    Energy shares slipped 0.4 percent. Suncor gave back 4
percent to C$32.99 and was the biggest drag on the market. 
    The company took a C$1.49 billion ($1.49 billion) writedown
on Voyageur and said the economic outlook for the facility,
which would convert bitumen mined from the oil sands into
refinery-ready synthetic crude, was "challenged" and it may not
go ahead.
    "This will be a major issue for the next 2 to 3 years. The
problem can't be solved that easily or quickly," Masionis said.
He said he's avoiding all stocks that are into oil sands
projects.
    Oil prices further weighed on the sector. 
    Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was down 0.6 percent
to C$30.08.
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