CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as bank gains trump Suncor decline

Wed Feb 6, 2013 4:39pm EST

* TSX ends up 15.94 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,761.59
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Suncor drops 5.4 percent

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index eked
out a slight gain on Wednesday, with a rise in financial and
materials stocks offsetting a decline in Suncor Energy Inc
 after it reported unexpectedly weak results.
    The financial sector, the index's largest, gained 0.4
percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 1 percent to C$62.67
and played the biggest role in leading the market higher. Bank
of Montreal advanced 0.8 percent to C$62.96 as bank
shares led the Canadian market's push to catch up with gains
made elsewhere this year and last.
    "Canada overall has lagged the world and this is one of the
areas that investors might be finding some pockets of value,"
said Philip Petursson, a managing director of the portfolio
advisory group at Manulife Asset Management.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX composite
index was up 4 percent in 2012, while the S&P 500
gained 13.4 percent. The S&P also hit a five-year high this
week, rising around 6 percent since year-end, while the TSX has
edged up around 3 percent.
    "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.
    The S&P/TSX composite ended up 15.94 points, or
0.13 percent, at 12,761.59. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the
index were trading higher.
     The TSX outperformed U.S. indexes on Wednesday as
investors, without any major economic reports to guide them,
awaited fresh incentives to trade. 
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gained
0.2 percent.
    Energy shares slipped 0.8 percent. Suncor, Canada's largest
oil producer, gave back 5.4 percent to C$32.53 and was the
biggest drag on the market. 
     Late on Tuesday Suncor reported a fourth-quarter loss as it
wrote down the value of its Voyageur oil sands upgrading project
in northern Alberta just weeks before it is due to make a final
decision on whether to build the facility. 
    "You've got costs that are rising and you've got this
differential in terms of what they're able to receive for their
oil versus (West Texas Intermediate)," Manulife's Petursson
said. "So the results aren't a surprise to me. And I think we
may see more of the same from some of the other larger
producers."
    Weak oil prices further weighed on the sector. Oil
producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was down 0.4
percent to C$30.13.
    TMX Group rose 2.3 percent to C$56.73 after reporting
better-than-expected profit for the first full quarter since a
group of Canadian financial institutions took control of the
owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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