CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as financials offset by volatile commodities

Reuters

* TSX rises 3.01 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,478.34

* Six of 10 main index sectors decline

* Shoppers, Jean Coutu fall after court ruling

* Manulife has biggest positive influence on market

* Pretium Resources jumps 80 percent

By John Tilak

TORONTO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was

little changed on Friday, with gains in the financial sector

offset by declines in energy and material shares after commodity

prices had a volatile session.

Gold bullion showed little signs of stabilizing after a

choppy week, with both the price of the precious metal and

shares of gold producers hitting four-month lows.

The Toronto market hit a two-year high earlier in the day.

Investors also tracked a ruling by the Supreme Court of

Canada that upheld Ontario's ban on pharmacies selling

private-label prescription drugs, a move expected to hurt

drugstore chains. Shares of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp

turned negative after the news.

Recent comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and

Janet Yellen, the Fed vice chair who is the nominee to succeed

Bernanke, have assuaged investor fears of an immediate pullback

in the U.S. central bank's bond-buying program, which has

sustained this year's strength in global equity markets.

Even so, some investors have started to urge caution about

the run-up in stock prices.

It would be prudent for investors to build cash positions

and sell stocks whose valuations might be stretched, said Lorne

Steinberg, president of Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management, who

pointed to the jump in shares of the Canadian financial

companies as an example.

"It's going to be a lot tougher to make money in 2014," he

said. "Valuations have risen much faster than revenues and

earnings, which is not a long-term sustainable situation."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index

closed up 3.01 points, or 0.02 percent, at 13,478.34,

after rising as high as 13,517.02, its highest level since

mid-2011.

Despite rising more than 8 percent this year, the benchmark

Canadian index is still trailing gains made by U.S. stock

markets.

"Looking out to 2014, the Canadian stock market may still

underperform other stock markets," Steinberg said. He expects

volatile commodity prices to weigh.

Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on

Friday.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained

0.2 percent, after having advanced almost 22 percent this year.

Manulife Financial Corp rose 1.3 percent, to

C$20.37, and had the biggest positive influence on the index.

Bank of Montreal added 0.5 percent to C$74.01.

Shares of energy producers slipped 0.2 percent, hurt by a

drop in the price of U.S. crude oil. Canadian Natural Resources

Ltd lost 1.3 percent to C$34.82.

Gold-mining stocks shed 1 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp

giving back 3.3 percent to C$17.21 and Goldcorp Inc

dropping 0.8 percent to C$24.31.

Two of the country's major drugstore chains dropped.

Shoppers gave back 0.3 percent to C$58.92, and Jean Coutu

fell 1 percent to C$18.24.

In other company news, Pretium Resources Inc shot

up about 80 percent to C$5.53 after the company released some

preliminary results from a sampling program at its gold project

in northern British Columbia.

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