* TSX up 3.27 points, 0.03 percent, at 12,735.66
* Seven of 10 main index sectors advance
* RBC gains 0.5 percent after results
* Gold miners follow bullion prices lower
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Feb 28 Canada's main stock index was
little changed in choppy trade on Thursday as a gain in shares
of Royal Bank of Canada after forecast-topping quarterly
results helped offset weakness in gold miners.
RBC gained 0.5 percent to C$63.78 after it reported a
stronger-than-expected 12 percent rise in quarterly profit on
the back of stronger loan growth and capital markets income,
prompting the bank to raise its dividend by 5 percent.
"You're looking at one of the less risky sectors in the
market. The sector continues to be pretty healthy," said Fred
Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod, adding that
steady dividends make bank stocks an attractive investment.
However, some analysts have been wary about the prospects
for further gains given that the financial services sector is
already up about 5 percent this year.
Shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 0.2 percent to
C$84.14 even though the country's No. 2 lender reported a 21
percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by loan growth at its
Canadian and U.S. retail banks. It raised its dividend by 5
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce stock dropped 1.1
percent to C$82.93 after CIBC reported a 4 percent drop in
quarterly profit due largely to a charge for a legal settlement.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
was up 3.27 points, or 0.03 percent, at 12,735.66.
Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Industrial shares climbed 0.5 percent, with Canadian
National Railway Co gaining 1.7 percent to C$103.38.
The index's materials sector, which includes mining stocks,
slipped 0.3 percent and was the biggest single drag on the
market. The group is down about 9 percent since the start of the
year, making it the worst performing sector of 2013 so far.
Once again, the biggest decliners were gold-mining stocks,
which followed the price of bullion lower.
"A lot of people are saying gold is fully priced. I might be
inclined to agree with that," Ketchen said.
Barrick Gold Corp fell 0.8 percent to C$31.37.
In other company news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
Inc said it is in active talks to make more
acquisitions, while posting a quarterly loss. The drug maker's
shares were little changed.