* TSX up 0.5 a point at 12,744.57
* Canadian Natural Resources up 3.1 pct after ratings boost
* 10 key index sectors evenly split between gainers and
* Financials group off 0.3 pct
TORONTO, March 14 The Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was little changed in slim
dealings on Thursday, a day after the index shed 1 percent in a
Oil company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd was the
gainer most influential on the index, rising 3.1 percent to
C$32.85. Brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel raised its
rating on Canadian Natural to "buy" from "hold" and said the
company was well-positioned for the second half of 2013.
Fellow oil producer Encana Corp rose 2 percent to
C$19.89. The overall energy sector was up 0.6 percent.
Investors largely kept to the sidelines after fleeing
heavyweight energy, bank and mining stocks on Wednesday. Earlier
this week, the TSX touched a 19-month high.
"Toronto continues to lag compared to what's going on down
south, at least the Dow and the S&P, which are having another
good day," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital
"We don't have anything to pick up the slack in Canada ...
but it's not vicious like yesterday."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
was trading up less than a point at 12,744.57 at mid
morning, after seeing its sharpest one-day move in either
direction since November in the previous session.
The 10 main groups in the index were evenly split between
decliners and advancers.
The financial group, which makes up about a third of the
index's weight, was down 0.3 percent, led lower by Bank of Nova
Scotia, which fell 0.7 percent to C$59.67. Royal Bank
of Canada was down 0.4 percent at C$61.22.
Four of the five heaviest drags on the index were banks. The
sector has retreated in the last two weeks after touching some
of its highest levels in more than five years.
In individual company news, Quebecor Inc shares
fell 5.1 percent to C$43.73 after the media and
telecommunications conglomerate reported a 89 percent fall in
quarterly profit. The company also said that Chief Executive
Pierre Karl Peladeau will step down.
Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp was down 5 percent at
C$23.45 after a Colombian arbitration tribunal on Wednesday
ruled in favor of state-run oil company Ecopetrol in a dispute
over the revenues generated by an oil field run by the