CANADA STOCKS-TSX halts slide on U.S. jobs data
* TSX up 63.96 pts, or 0.55 pct, at 11,738.97 * Energy, financials lead gains * U.S. jobless claims data lifts sentiment * China data weighs on commodities By Jon Cook TORONTO, May 10 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rallied on Thursday, halting its May selloff after six straight losing sessions, as resource firms were boosted by healthier U.S. jobless claims data that helped offset weaker-than-expected China trade numbers and concerns about Europe's debt crisis. New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits edged downward last week, according to government data on Thursday, that could assuage concerns the labor market was deteriorating after April's weak employment growth. Also encouraging was U.S. import data that revealed prices in April recorded their largest drop in 10 months. "We've had some weakness in the commodities square, but they're all doing better today," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. "It's being dominated by short-term traders, lighter volumes and headline risk." At 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 63.96 points, or 0.55 percent, at 11,738.97. The index hit a 2012 low on Wednesday and has fallen for six straight sessions. Nearly all of the TSX's 10 main sectors were higher on the day, led by the energy group, which rose 0.8 percent as oil traded higher on expectations of improved U.S. demand following the jobs data. The sector's most influential gainers include Suncor Energy , up 0.8 percent at C$29.30, Canadian Natural Resources , up 1.2 percent to C$31.04, and Nexen Inc, which gained 4.2 percent to C$17.52. Shares of Crescent Point Energy Corp climbed 4.5 percent to C$42.78 after Canada's No. 5 independent oil producer reported a smaller quarterly loss on Thursday compared with a year ago. Materials were also higher, rising 0.2 percent, as gold rebounded from Wednesday's four-month low and copper hit a session high after the U.S. data. Key stocks on the upside were Teck Resources, which gained 1 percent to C$33.58, Barrick Gold, edging up 0.7 percent at C$37.91, and Kinross Gold, up 4 percent to C$7.98. "We had it ugly there for a while because we had the oils and banks going down," said RBC's Hand. Canadian financial shares were up 0.7 percent on Thursday as conditions in Europe settled after some market turmoil following last weekend's elections in Greece and France. Royal Bank of Canada was up 1.5 percent to C$54.15, Toronto-Dominion Bank climbed 0.8 percent to C$80.26, and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.6 percent to C$52.85. Greece averted an imminent funding crisis after European governments agreed on Wednesday to an initial 4.2-billion euro payment from the region's bailout fund. Investors remained nervous, however, pending the outcome of Greek Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos's last-ditch attempt to form a government on Thursday. Spanish markets rebounded after the government effectively took over Bankia, one of the country's biggest banks, and said more measures to restore confidence in Spain's ailing banking system would be announced on Friday. The news offset concerns about Chinese demand after data on Thursday showed exports and imports from the world's top consumer in April grew at a far slower rate than forecast.
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