TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday as sluggish U.S. economic data increased investor anxiety ahead of an upcoming jobs report and a drop in bullion hurt gold-mining shares.
The Toronto market's weakness followed gains in each of the previous four sessions. It is up about 5.7 percent this year.
Investors also digested news that the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, though it said it was willing to act if inflation stays too low for too long.
Data released on Thursday showed a greater-than-expected rise in the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week.
Investors are now awaiting the monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, a key indicator of the health of the world's biggest economy.
"It seems like the market is a little tepid ahead of the jobs report tomorrow morning," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a subsidiary of Richardson GMP. "The economy seems to have hit a soft patch."
"Commodities have helped the TSX outperform the U.S. market year-to-date," he added. "We continue to see that developing as the year progresses."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed down 56.90 points, or 0.39 percent, at 14,402.21. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index ended in the red.
In corporate news, Goldcorp extended its takeover bid for Osisko Mining Corp (OSK.TO). Osisko shares fell 1.8 percent to C$7.22.
Hudson's Bay Co (HBC.TO) slipped 5.1 percent, to C$17.86, after the retailer's 2014 profit forecast missed expectations.
Editing by Peter Galloway and Diane Craft