CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as banks offset falling oil shares

* TSX up 0.1 percent at 11,722.07

* Energy stocks pressured by retreating oil prices

* Potash rises again on hopes of richer offer
(Updates to close. Adds details)

TORONTO, Aug 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Toronto’s main stock index
turned around late on Friday and eked out a small gain as banks
and financial services companies offset oil and gas shares,
which fell with oil prices on concern that the global economic
recovery is faltering.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index
(.GSPTSE: ) ended the session up 11.89 points, or 0.1 percent, at
11,722.07, clawing back from a decline of nearly 1 percent
earlier in the day.

Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were higher. The energy
sector fell sharply as the price of oil dropped to a six-week
low below $74 a barrel.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: ) was down 0.94 percent at C$32.68,
and and fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: )
fell 0.76 percent to C$33.75.

The index’s materials group, home to golds and fertilizer
producer Potash Corp, rose 0.18 percent after recovering from
earlier losses.

Takeover target Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: )
remained buoyed by hopes that a sweeter offer will emerge.
Potash Corp, up 1.42 percent at C$157.06, is soliciting
alternative bidders willing to pay more than the $130 a share
offered by BHP Billiton (BHP.AX: ), the world’s largest mining
company, in its $39 billion hostile offer. [ID:nN22340110]

Stock in five of Canada’s Big Six banks rose, led by
National Bank of Canada (NA.TO: ), up 1.58 percent at C$57.24.
Rises were more subdued for other issues, with stock in No. 1
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: ) up 0.04 percent. Toronto Dominion
Bank (TD.TO: ), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: ), and Bank of
Montreal (BMO.TO: ) rose 0.53 percent, 0.49 percent and 0.46
percent respectively.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: ) was down
1.03 percent.

The banks start reporting quarterly earnings next week, and
Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones, said
they are expected to turn in a good performance.

Canadian consumer prices rose in July as a new sales tax
took effect, data on Friday showed, but underlying inflation
remained tame, fueling doubts about how fast the Bank of Canada
will raise interest rates as the recovery seems to be losing
steam. [ID: nN20500487]

“We might not see additional rate increases later in the
year,” Warne said. “I think that was good news for the
financials. That’s why those are up a bit.”

“What we’re seeing today is the concerns that the CPI came
in lower than expected, with low inflation and worries about
slowing growth that suggest the Bank of Canada may be on hold
(on raising rates) longer than people had anticipated.”

($1=$1.048 Canadian)
(Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Peter Galloway)

CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as banks offset falling oil shares