CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as energy gains on jobs data offset by gold
By Solarina Ho TORONTO, March 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was little changed on Friday, as gains in energy stocks following better-than-expected U.S. jobs data was offset by a drop in mining stocks as the price of gold fell. U.S. jobs growth picked up sharply in February despite an unusually cold winter, with 175,000 new jobs created, while the Canadian economy lost 7,000 jobs. Sentiment in Canada is often influenced by news out of the United States, Canada's largest trading partner. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 9.9 points at 14,280.25. Seven of the indexes 10 main groups were in positive territory. "Our index has the barbell between financials and resources that makes our markets somewhat less volatile, in terms of what's going on," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. Energy stocks were helped by stronger crude prices, which rose to $108 a barrel on supply concerns from the crisis in Ukraine and the U.S. jobs number. Canadian Natural Resources was up 1.9 percent at C$41.58, while Suncor Energy Inc rose 1.2 percent to C$36.95. The overall group climbed 0.9 percent. The materials group, comprised of mining stocks, offset much of the positive gains, with a 1.5 percent retreat, as gold and copper prices fell. Goldcorp Inc was off 1.8 percent at C$29.95, while Barrick Gold Corp was down 1.6 percent at C$21.97. Base-metals miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd led the decliners with a 4.1 percent drop to C$20.36 as copper hit a seven-month low on China growth worries. Gold prices fell 1 percent as U.S. jobs data helped soothe fears of an abrupt slowdown in the world's biggest economy.
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