CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as investors eye Yellen comment

Thu May 8, 2014 11:15am EDT

* TSX up 16.94 points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,673.34
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Linamar jumps more than 13 percent after results
    * Valeant, Telus, SNC-Lavalin climb after quarterly reports

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Thursday, with gains in financials offset by
weaker energy shares as investors focused on congressional
testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
    Earnings reports provided support, but weakness in commodity
prices helped keep the index's gains in check.
    Yellen said on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank will
continue to provide a high degree of monetary policy
accommodation, while citing geopolitical turmoil and weak
housing data as risks to the U.S. economy. 
    She began testifying before the Senate Budget Committee on
Thursday, and investors were set to search for clues on when the
Fed might begin raising interest rates.
    "You expect her to continue to keep the comments dovish even
while they're going on with their tapering," said Colin
Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "The
Fed doesn't want to go too hawkish on the rhetoric because that
could spook the stock markets." 
    Cieszynski said he did not expect any new insights from
Thursday's testimony and noted that interest rates were not
likely to rise until the middle of next year.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 16.94 points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,673.34. It
is up about 7.7 percent this year.
    "Commodities are going to be choppy in the short term, but
in the longer term the prospects for commodities and the TSX are
pretty good," Cieszynski said.
    The benchmark index will benefit from an acceleration of
growth in the Canadian and U.S. economies, as well as a rebound
in demand for natural resources, he said.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose
0.2 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada gaining 0.5
percent to C$73.45.
    With the price of oil slipping, energy shares gave back 0.8
percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd lost 1.6
percent to C$43.77, and Suncor Energy Inc slipped 0.5
percent to C$42.92.
    Several earnings reports rolled in.
    Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc reported
a 35 percent jump in cash earnings, helped by robust drug sales
in the United States and in its Bausch & Lomb eyecare business.
The stock added 1 percent to C$146.44. 
    Telus Corp was up 0.3 percent at C$39.57 after the
telecommunications company posted a higher quarterly profit.
 
    SNC-Lavalin Group Inc reported quarterly earnings
that exceeded expectations and raised its 2014 forecast. Shares
of the engineering and construction company advanced 3 percent
to C$53.16. 
    Linamar Corp shot up 13.4 percent to C$59.65 after
the auto parts maker reported results late on Wednesday. The
stock was the biggest percentage gainer on the index.
    ($1=$1.09 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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