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TSX ekes out gain on stronger energy issues

Toronto's main stock index just managed to finish in positive territory Monday, as stronger oil prices helped boost energy issues and helped offset worries about European debt levels.

 

U.S. crude oil futures rose more than 2 percent to finish at $85.73 US a barrel. Prices helped lift the overall energy group by 0.67 percent.

 

Suncor Energy (SU-T) led the rally while Husky Energy (HSE-T), which canceled plans to spin off its Southeast Asian operations and green-lighted a $2.5 billion Alberta oil sands project, was among the decliners.

 

Mining issues, a part of the all-important materials group, recovered some of their earlier losses, but the sector still ended down about 0.21 percent as stronger gold prices could not overcome lingering concerns about euro zone debt.

 

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended the day up 2.94 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,895.65. Six of the TSX's 10 main groups ended lower.

 

The markets were in the red for much of the day as concerns that other debt-plagued European countries would need rescuing persisted, even after Ireland's 85-billion-euro loan package was endorsed by European Union finance ministers.

 

“I would say the sovereign debt concerns that weighed heavily on the markets early this morning have simmered down a bit. Clearly this is a long-running saga,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

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