CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges higher as strong miners offset SNC slide

Fri Mar 8, 2013 5:14pm EST

* TSX gains 9.09 points, or 0.07 pct, to 12,835.61
    * Six of 10 main index sectors rise
    * SNC Lavalin loses 6.2 percent after results, outlook


    By Cameron French
    TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended
slightly higher on Friday as rebounding mining shares offset
weaker tech stocks and a steep drop in SNC-Lavalin Group Inc
 after the engineering company reported disappointing
quarterly results.
    Strong jobs data in both Canada and the United States had
little impact on shares as Canadian investors seemed reluctant
to follow U.S. equity markets higher. The S&P 500 rose
nearly 0.5 percent on the U.S. employment data.
    "The TSX continues to trade sideways. There's some lingering
concern about where we go from here," said Elvis Picardo,
strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities
in Vancouver.
    "At this point, all we can hope for is a narrowing of the
gap between the S&P 500 and the TSX." 
    The Toronto index is up about 3 percent this year, trailing
an 8 percent rise in the S&P 500.
    SNC's shares dropped 6.2 percent to C$43.01, making it the
worst performer on the TSX index, after its fourth-quarter
earnings and 2013 outlook fell short of market expectations.
.
    That helped pull the TSX industrials group down 0.6 percent,
making it one of the four of 10 TSX subgroups to weaken during
the session.
    The small information technology subgroup was also weak. It
retreated 1.1 percent on the back of IT services company CGI
Group Inc, which fell 2.7 percent to C$26.58, and
BlackBerry, which eased 1.1 percent to C$13.43.
    All told, the S&P/TSX composite index gained 9.09
points, or 0.07 percent, to finish at 12,835.61.
    For the week, the index gained 0.49 percent. It hit a
14-month high in January, but has retreated since then due to
weakness in the mining and energy shares that make up much of
the Canadian market.
    
    JOB GAINS
    In Canada, the job market defied expectations and posted
strong gains in February, lending some credibility to
predictions of an economic comeback this year after the slowest
two quarters of growth since the 2008-09 recession.
 
    "The numbers in the U.S. have been coming in on the decent
side, and finally we get a better than expected number on the
unemployment side in Canada, but obviously that didn't seem to
be enough to pull us out of the rut," said Levente Mady, a
senior portfolio manager at PI Financial Corp in Vancouver.
    The index's mining-heavy materials subgroup gained 0.8
percent, led by gold miners, as the yellow metal rebounded from
early weakness. 
    Banro Corp jumped 10.1 percent to C$1.96,
rebounding somewhat from a steep loss in the previous session
after the company's chief executive resigned.
    Also fueling the group was Iamgold, which gained
5.5 percent to C$6.75, and First Quantum Minerals, which
gained 6.2 percent to C$20.42.
    The energy subgroup was little changed despite a 7.5 percent
rise in Niko Resources Ltd after the oil and gas
producer projected robust cash flow and said it had received
significant offers for certain non-core assets. 
Its shares ended at C$6.48.
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