* TSX up 2.44 points, or 0.02 percent to 12,602.18
* Materials off 0.27 percent, financials down 0.03 percent
* Research In Motion surges 12.9 percent
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Jan 11 Canada's main stock index rose
slightly, but eked out enough of a gain to finish with its
strongest close in 10 months, as a big rise in Research In
Motion Ltd shares offset a decline in mining stocks.
This was the fourth straight gain for the index and
investors were looking ahead to next week's busy earnings
schedule in the United States.
"I do think that confidence is building up in the market,"
said Patrick Blais, director and senior investment analyst at
Manulife Asset Management.
"Overall, earnings are definitely surprising to the upside
and impacting the market positively."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
nudged up 2.44 points, or 0.02 percent to 12,602.18.
This was the index's highest finish since early March. Six
of the index's 10 main groups, however, were in negative
territory. The index rose 0.48 percent for the week.
"The markets have come out of the gates pretty good this
year and I think investors are having a really hard time
identifying where the new leadership is going to come from,"
said Mike Newton, associate director and portfolio manager at
Macquarie Private Wealth Inc.
Volatile RIM shares jumped 12.9 percent to finish at
C$13.31, after trading lower early in the session. Investors
were positioning themselves ahead of the BlackBerry maker's new
smartphones set to launch at the end of the month, analysts
Several blog posts published on Friday showed what could be
the new BlackBerry 10. A spokesman for SprintNextel said it
plans to bring BlackBerry 10 to its customers later this year.
Copper prices eased from a one-week high amid uncertainty
about the demand outlook for industrial metals, especially out
of China. Diversified mining firm Teck Resources Ltd
was the biggest drag, retreating 2.12 percent to C$36.93. The
overall materials group, home to mining firms, was down 0.27
Gold miners tracked bullion prices that fell 1 percent
following their biggest one-day rise this year. Goldcorp Inc
fell 1.17 percent to C$36.25, while Barrick Gold Corp
closed down 0.68 percent to C$33.72.
The energy sector gave back a modest 0.03 percent amid mixed
trading. Talisman Energy Inc climbed 4.31 percent to
C12.10, while Husky Energy Inc fell 1.62 percent to
Wells Fargo, the first major U.S. bank to post earnings,
reported declining net interest margins even as it posted a
record fourth-quarter profit.
"It's very difficult for the banking system to manage their
interest rate earnings in this type of environment ... we expect
more pressure going forward," said Blais, adding that pressure
was expected to ease toward the latter half of 2013, as interest
rates begin to rise.
The TSX's heavily weighted financial group finished 0.03
percent lower. The Toronto Dominion Bank slipped 0.30
percent to C$81.82.