Toronto stocks pause as gold gains offset by energy losses

(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index finished flat on Tuesday as gains in gold producers were offset by weakness in energy shares and as global equities markets were supported by signs North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States.

FILE PHOTO: 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 ended up 3.91 points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,545.19.

* South Korea said the North will also suspend nuclear tests while talks with the United States are underway.

* The prospect of talks after months of tensions between North Korea and the United States helped put a floor under global markets, as did a push from U.S. Republican lawmakers to get U.S. President Donald Trump to pull back from proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. [MKTS/GLOB]

* Gold producers climbed 1.1 percent, helping to support the larger materials sector as gold prices firmed on the potential progress with North Korea. [GOL/]

* Goldcorp advanced 2.7 percent to C$17.01, while Teck Resources was up 1.1 percent at C$36.68 as gold futures rose 1.2 percent to $1,333.4 an ounce.

* But the market was capped by the heavyweight energy group, down 0.5 percent. Canadian Natural Resources fell 1.1 percent to C$39.82, while Suncor Energy was off 0.2 percent to C$41.40.

* Canadian National Railway was the biggest drag on the index, down 2.0 percent at C$95.24 as CIBC cut its target price to C$108 from C$111 the day after the rail company’s chief executive officer abruptly stepped down.

* Bombardier Inc fell 5.8 percent to C$3.77 after it said it will sell equity to strengthen its balance sheet as part of a five-year turnaround plan.

* Canopy Growth was among the most heavily traded shares, up 1.7 percent at C$32.93 after Bloomberg reported that the cannabis producer had bid for Spanish firm Alcaliber SA.

* The TSX posted eight new 52-week highs and four new lows. Across all Canadian issues there were 25 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows. Volume on the TSX index was 220.90 million shares.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Susan Thomas