Gold miners help TSX eke out gain, energy stocks weigh

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index made a small gain on Wednesday as gold miners advanced on a bullion price recovery while energy stocks weighed with a fall in oil prices as U.S. inventory data renewed concerns over a global glut.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

“Energy’s got a little more pressure on it given declines in WTI (West Texas Intermediate) and concerns over the storage levels, however gold has found a bid to put the TSX in the black today,” said Chris King, vice president and portfolio manager at Morgan Meighen & Associates.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 16.13 points, or 0.11 percent, to 14,493.80. That added to Tuesday’s close, the highest since August. Six of the index’s 10 main groups ended in positive territory.

Gold recovered from its lowest in nearly two weeks, as prospects for further economic stimulus helped to bolster investor appetite. [GOL/]

The most influential gainers on the index included Agnico Eagle Mining, up 4 percent to C$73.73, and Barrick Gold Corp, which advanced 1.8 percent to C$27.36.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.7 percent. Potash Corp gained 4 percent to C$21.90.

The Bank of Canada cut its growth forecast for 2016 but held rates steady on Wednesday, saying it believed exports and business investment would pick up even though it may have underestimated structural challenges facing businesses.

The heavyweight energy group fell 1.4 percent, as oil tumbled more than 4 percent to erase most of the previous session’s gain, with a raft of bearish U.S. inventory data heightening concerns about a global glut. [O/R]

Suncor Energy Inc fell 1.5 percent to C$36.68 and pipeline operator Enbridge Inc lost 1.6 percent to C$54.62.

Despite the daily slip, Morgan Meighen’s King said he liked the long-term prospects for Canadian energy stocks.

“I’m quite constructive on energy. I think it will surprise people over the coming 12 months,” he said. “But to me the real upside is in the Canadian banks.”

He said a concerted effort by some U.S. hedge funds to short Canadian banks will likely need to be unwound at some point.

The financial sector was up 0.1 percent.

Canadian Tire Corp Ltd shares fell 3.8 percent to C$138.87 after the retailer reappointed Stephen Wetmore as CEO more than 18 months after he left the top job.

Corus Entertainment Inc declined 7.5 percent to C$12.66 after reporting lower-than-expected quarterly adjusted profit.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Chris Reese