TSX gains as oil, China, Wall Street vie for influence

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index gained on Tuesday in volatile trade that tracked gyrations in oil markets, Wall Street’s mixed return from a holiday and speculation on China’s next economic policy move.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 60.07 points, or 0.50 percent, at 12,002.24, led by financial shares and helped by telecoms and some consumer stocks.

U.S. indexes, closed on Monday for a holiday when Toronto fell 1.1 percent, ended flat to slightly lower. [.N]

The Toronto index has slumped since late December and is just above its lowest levels since June 2013.

“The only way to get out of this muck, out of this quicksand the market’s in, is to have a few good days in a row,” said Barry Schwartz, portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

But that has proven difficult for the TSX, which hasn’t risen in two consecutive sessions since before it broke for Christmas.

European and Asian shares also rose as data showing China’s economy grew last year at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century led investors to anticipate more efforts by Beijing to spur growth.

But oil prices pared earlier gains as an energy watchdog warned the market could “drown in oversupply”. [O/R]

“This is a troubling time for all investors,” Schwartz said, advising investors to do nothing. “Making moves at this juncture is just going to cause more problems.”

The energy group retreated 1.6 percent.

Banks and other financial stocks were influential, with Toronto-Dominion TDTO> up 1.8 percent to C$50.29, Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO advancing 1.7 percent to C$53.27 and Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO adding 1 percent to C$18.04.

“The Canadian banks are the cheapest they’ve been since the financial crisis,” Schwartz said.

Telecoms climbed 1.6 percent, with Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO jumping 2.3 percent to C$49.36 and Telus T.TO rising 1.3 percent to C$36.81.

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd BIN.TO jumped 10.5 percent to C$37.38 after agreeing to a reverse merger that will make it part of the third-biggest waste management company in North America.

Industrials rose 0.5 percent.

The consumer groups were broadly higher, with staples up 1.1 percent and discretionary adding 1.5 percent.

Convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard ATDb.TO rose 1.4 percent to C$58.81 and car parts maker Magna International Inc MG.TO gained 2.5 percent to C$49.69.

Potash Corp POT.TO shares gained 2.7 percent to C$23.65 after it said it would suspend operations at a New Brunswick mine, cutting more than 400 jobs.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish