By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index edged
slightly higher on Friday, the final trading day of the month,
tracking global markets and commodity prices, but a lack of
progress in U.S. budget talks to avert a fiscal crisis looked
likely to cap gains.
Energy shares were among the top advancers. Nexen Inc added 1.7 percent to C$23.66, Canadian Natural
Resources rose 0.7 percent to C$28.75 and Suncor Energy climbed 0.3 percent to C$32.94.
Still, investors were on edge after mixed headlines out of
Washington, where a deal is needed by year-end or automatic
spending cuts and tax rises will be triggered that could tip the
U.S. economy into a recession.
'(The U.S. fiscal crisis) has sort of been on the periphery
of the news for quite some time but yet there's been no movement
one way or the other and it's 31 days away, so it's just more of
distraction than a focus point,' said Bruce Latimer, trader at
U.S. President Barack Obama plans to travel to a factory in
Pennsylvania to press his case for raising taxes on the wealthy
to narrow the deficit.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said Thursday
no substantive progress had been made in fiscal negotiations
with the White House, and criticized President Obama and
Democrats for failing to get serious about including spending
cuts in a final deal.
At 10:41 a.m. (1541 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 12.66 points, or 0.11
percent, at 12,215.51. Eight of the 10 sectors were firmer,
supported by a wobbly advance in commodity prices.
Also helping to lift sentiment, German lawmakers approved
the latest bailout for Greece on Friday by a large majority
despite growing unease about the cost to taxpayers less than a
year before federal elections.
Weighing on the downside, Talisman Energy lost 2.8
percent to C$11.23, Royal Bank of Canada was down 0.3
percent to C$58.44 and First Quantum Minerals slipped
0.9 percent to C$20.18
First Quantum said on Thursday it believed Inmet Mining
Corp's board was selling shareholders short by refusing
to enter into talks on a takeover proposal put forward by First
Quantum earlier this month.
(Reporting by Claire Sibonney)
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Keywords: MARKETS CANADA/STOCKS
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