TSX barely lower as resource stock gains offset bank, rails

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was marginally lower on Tuesday as financial and railway stocks weighed, while shares in energy companies and gold miners rose on higher commodity prices.

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

The most influential weights included some of the index's biggest banks, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO down 0.7 percent to C$93.66 and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO off 0.6 percent to C$66.575.

Canada’s housing agency said on Tuesday it will increase its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums in a move that makes it marginally more expensive for borrowers to buy a home but should not materially affect the housing market.

Home Capital Group Inc HCG.TO, whose Home Trust unit is more exposed to housing than the banks, fell 1.6 percent to C$30.01, while the financials group slipped 0.5 percent overall.

Commodity prices were boosted by a fall in the U.S. dollar in which they are priced after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said that the strong greenback was hurting U.S. competitiveness.

The energy group climbed 0.8 percent on the back of the oil price gain, with Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO up 1 percent to C$43.23 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO advancing 1.1 percent to C$41.64.

Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 1.2 percent to C$19.37 and Kinross Gold Corp K.TO gained 3.1 percent to C$4.61 as gold jumped to its highest in nearly eight weeks on Trump's comments.

At 10:20 a.m. ET (1520 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 5.85 points, or 0.04 percent, at 15,473.44, with advancers barely outnumbering decliners overall and six of the 10 sectors moving higher.

Canadian National Railway fell 1.2 percent to C$92.24, while rival Canadian Pacific Railway declined 1.3 percent to C$192.19, pushing industrials down 0.8 percent.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices were up 1.3 percent to $53.04 a barrel, while Brent LCOc1 added 1.0 percent to $56.44.

Gold futures GCc1 rose 1.5 percent to $1,212.8 an ounce.

Lending activity to small businesses in Canada picked up in November on gains in the manufacturing and retail sectors, a report showed on Tuesday, suggesting companies felt more confident with the U.S. election out of the way.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp