CANADA STOCKS-Spanish auction helps TSX eke out gain

Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:57pm GMT
 

* TSX ends up 24.80 points, 0.2 pct, at 12,153.69
    * Financials, materials, energy end stronger

    By Claire Sibonney	
    TORONTO, April 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
ended slightly higher in choppy trade on Thursday after a
successful Spanish bond auction sparked an early positive tone
in markets, but mixed U.S. economic data and corporate earnings
kept a firm lid on gains. 	
    Top gainers included Goldcorp Inc, up 1.7 percent to
C$41.18 and Cenovus Energy, up 1.8 percent to C$34.55.	
    SXC Health Solutions rose for a seventh straight
session, surging 8.9 percent to C$96.49 in the afterglow of its
deal to buy rival U.S. pharmacy benefit manager Catalyst Health
Solutions Inc for about $4.4 billion. 	
    Among the key laggards, Bank of Nova Scotia fell
0.7 percent to C$55.05, Canadian National Railway lost
0.5 percent to C$79.56 and Shoppers Drug Mart slipped
1.7 percent to C$43.55.	
    "(Investors) may be taking money out of some of the more
stable stocks, like a Shoppers or something like that that's
hung in there better than some of these resource stocks which
have been battered, so it might be part of a bit of a rotational
trade," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital
Markets.	
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended up 24.80 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,153.69.
All three of the heavyweight financials, materials and energy
groups were stronger, but the rest of the sectors ended in
negative territory.	
    Weak U.S. data put a damper on broader confidence, weighing
on Wall Street as indexes south of the border ended lower. 	
    The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits for
the first time fell only slightly last week, suggesting that job
growth in April will not improve much after March's
disappointing performance. 	
     Other data on Thursday showed factory activity in the
Mid-Atlantic region slowed sharply this month and home resales
dropped for a second straight month in March. 	
    On the earnings front, some market players focused on
negative U.S. corporate news, including uninspiring results from
Qualcomm Inc and Stanley Black & Decker.	
    The Spanish auction wasn't all positive either. Spain sold
2.5 billion euros in two- and 10-year bonds, at the top end of
the targeted amount. But yields on the key 10-year bond were
higher, reflecting fears that Spain may miss budget deficit
targets, as well as concerns about its banks. 
 	
    Investors worried about the higher yields demanded in the
auction and about a possible future credit rating downgrade for
France, where upcoming presidential elections pose an additional
risk. 	
    Market players are also paying close attention to any new
signals on the direction of global growth.	
    Canada's economy will likely lag the United States this
year, slowing compared with 2011 and probably falling short of
cheerier economic forecasts touted by the Bank of Canada this
week, a Reuters poll found on Thursday. 	
    While Canada will fare better than many of its Western
peers, especially in Europe where many countries are in or close
to recession, there was a sense of caution in the forecasts of
around 30 economists polled over the past week. 	
    "We're getting a little bit better sentiment regarding
global growth of late and what we've found is that the Canadian
markets are obviously becoming increasingly sensitive to not
only the economic trends domestically and even in the U.S. but
around the globe," said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist
at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri. 	
    "As we get a little bit better sentiment and better data
from China, emerging markets, even to some degree some relief in
the European markets, that has really reflected positively."
 
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