* TSX up 8.6 pts, or 0.1 pct, at 12,521.02
* Financials rise, miners fall
* Greek deal optimism fades
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Feb 8 Canadian stocks closed
little changed on Wednesday as hopes for a Greek debt deal
lifted financial shares, which were offset by losses among
miners after some discouraging European economic data.
Marathon negotiations between Greece and its creditors to
secure a 130-billion-euro ($172 billion) bailout that would
ensure Athens can cover massive bond redemptions that come due
next month failed to yield a deal.
"The market is going to go sideways until something is clear
cut," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "The
reality of it is there hasn't been a deal."
Canadian stocks finished marginally up, led by a 0.5 percent
rise in financials as banks welcomed the more positive Greek
tone. Royal Bank of Canada was the best performer among
the major banks, rising 0.6 percent to C$53.93. Bank of Montreal
was up 0.8 percent to C$58.60.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
closed up 8.6 points, or 0.1 percent, at 12,521.02.
Early in the day it rose as high as 12,575.15, but met
resistance after climbing above its 200-day moving average.
"You hit it and then you bounce. There wasn't enough impetus
for it to go beyond that," said Ing.
Mining stocks were hurt by a slide in gold as bullion
dropped 1 percent on news that Italy's economy probably
contracted in the fourth quarter and on discouraging reports
from Germany and France.
Teck Resources, down 2 percent at C$40.75, led
losses for the mining sector, which has risen more than 12
percent this year.
Goldcorp fell 1.3 percent to C$46.97 after Canadian
securities regulators on Tuesday implicated company Chairman Ian
Telfer in an alleged insider trading scheme, saying he helped
the main defendant in the case disguise her illegal trading
activities. Telfer denied the charge.
"That may be a bit of an overhang on the stock relative to
the group as a whole," said John Hughes, senior mining analyst
at Desjardins Securities.
Agrium Inc defied the downward move, climbing 1.9
percent to C$82.63 after it reported a 43 percent rise in
fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday.
Shares of WestJet Airlines Ltd rose more than 4
percent to C$13.65 after Canada's second-largest carrier said
its quarterly earnings dipped in the fourth quarter but the
result topped expectations.
It also said it will launch a new regional operation to
serve smaller Canadian destinations after winning the
endorsement of its workforce.
Empire Co Ltd's shares fell 0.7 percent to C$
55.89 after Canada's No. 2 grocer said the chief executive of
its Sobeys Inc grocery store chain will retire in the spring
because of a health problem.
Also on Wednesday, Canadian housing data showed starts
declined in January from December, but were still above