* TSX up 2.50 points, or 0.02 percent, to 12,604.68
* Index hits highest point since March 2012
* RIM jumps on BB10 hopes
By John Tilak
TORONTO, Jan 14 Canada's main stock index eased
from a 10-month high on Monday as investor optimism for Research
In Motion Ltd shares over the upcoming launch of its
BlackBerry 10 devices was partly offset by falling energy
Strength in the materials sector, which includes mining
stocks, further supported the market, while volatile oil prices
were a drag on the energy sector and kept the gains in check.
RIM shares were consolidating a 13-percent gain made on
Friday. The stock added 8 percent to C$14.41 and helped the
information technology sector gain 2.2 percent.
"The investor confidence is brought about simply because of
hope, and hope that the new BlackBerry 10 is going to be an
answer to their prayers," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
"There has been some talk that this is a revival of RIM.
We'll have to wait and see," he added.
At midafternoon, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index inched up 2.50 points, or 0.02
percent, at 12,604.68, after touching 12,636.68, its highest
since March 5, 2012. Five of the 10 main sectors of the index
were trading higher.
The index swung back and forth between positive and negative
territories in choppy trade.
"There's a lot of indecisiveness out there. People don't
really know which way to go and you're getting these markets
that aren't really doing much of anything," said Julie Brough,
vice president at Morgan Meighen & Associates.
Investors kept a close watch on the U.S. debt ceiling talks,
seen as a significant catalyst for the markets, with hopes that
a compromise will be reached. "There is reasonable optimism that
it would be resolved," Brough said.
A rise in commodity prices and a spurt of deal activity
helped support the materials group.
Miner Goldcorp Inc added 1.1 percent to C$36.65, and
Cameco Corp gained 3.8 percent to C$20.93.
Miner Alamos Gold Inc said it will buy Aurizon
Mines Ltd for about C$780 million ($793 million) in
cash and stock to get access to Aurizon's only operating gold
mine, Casa Berardi, in northern Quebec. Aurizon shares jumped 34
percent to C$4.57.
Russia's state uranium firm agreed to pay $1.3 billion to
take Canada's Uranium One Inc private, as the successor
to the Soviet Union's nuclear industry seeks to strengthen its
grip on supplies. Uranium One's stock rose 15 percent to C$2.78.
The energy sector was down 0.4 percent, with Talisman Energy
Inc falling 3 percent to C$11.74 and Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd slipping 1.5 percent to C$29.34. Oil
prices were volatile, with Brent crude rising to $112 on supply
In other company news, shares of Harry Winston Diamond Corp
rose 5 percent on the company's plans to sell its
high-end watches-to-necklaces division to Swatch Group in a $750
million cash deal that expands the Swiss watchmaker's luxury
offering and lets the Canadian group concentrate on its diamond
Encana Corp shares dropped more than 2 percent
after the surprise resignation of the chief executive officer of
Canada's largest natural gas producer.
Investors were also awaiting comments from Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke, who will speak on U.S. monetary policy,
recovery from the global financial crisis and long-term
challenges facing the American economy.