The S&P/TSX composite index gained 11.82 points to 15,112.52, held back falling resource stocks as oil prices backed off following a sharp run-up and mining stocks declined amid another round of weak data from China.
The Canadian dollar tumbled 0.69 of a cent to 79.53 cents US as gold and copper prices also retreated and the American currency strengthened across the board.
New York indexes were positive as the Dow Jones industrials jumped 139.55 points to 17,868.76, the Nasdaq was up 61.63 points at 4,787.64 and the S&P 500 index was ahead 21.85 points at 2,068.59.
The TSX energy sector fell 2.5 cent as March oil in New York lost $2.84 to US$50.02 a barrel after running ahead nine per cent since last Wednesday. Oil prices seemed to find support around the $50 a barrel level after having dropped sharply since the end of November as markets cope with a huge supply/demand imbalance.
But analysts warn that there is still plenty of potential for prices to head lower in the short term.
"There’s the risk that the oil price really gets sloppy and inventory levels fill up as seasonal demand slows down into the spring and you have refineries go down for maintenance," said Craig Jerusalim, portfolio manager at CIBC Asset Management.
"So what we could see is the potential for a scenario similar to natural gas where you have temporarily depressed crude prices and it gets a lot lower."
Still, Jerusalim expects that the supply/demand imbalance will get worked out in the next year or two as energy companies cut back on spending and production.
At the same time, the International Energy Agency says the price of crude is poised to recover soon but won't come close to the levels reached last summer.
The IEA says the current price recovery is unlike those of the past, because of the sharp increase in production by non-OPEC countries, especially the United States, as well as slowing demand in China.
Talisman Energy (TSX:TLM) posted a quarterly US$1.59-billion net loss, mostly as a result of asset writedowns because of the collapse of oil prices. Its shares gained 18 cents to $9.59.
March copper fell three cents to US$2.55 a pound and the base metals group shed 3.5 per cent as data showed that inflation in China fell below one per cent in January. Consumer prices rose 0.8 per cent, down from December's 1.5 per cent gain, which suggested weak consumer demand.
And the gold sector dropped 1.2 per cent as April bullion fell $9.30 to US$1,232.20 an ounce.
The TSX found support from non-resource component including consumer staples, tech and telcos.
Meanwhile, eurozone finance ministers will hold a special meeting Wednesday and EU leaders will gather for a summit Thursday to discuss the latest chapter in the Greek debt crisis.
Greece's leftist government wants a lightening of its bailout debt as well as an easing in required budget austerity measures, but the European Union's executive says it is unlikely that a final agreement will be reached at meetings this week.