CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as market cools ahead of long weekend
* TSX up 5.82 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,452.34 * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance * Gold-mining shares slip along with bullion price By John Tilak TORONTO, April 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday with investors reluctant to take new positions ahead of the long Easter weekend, and with the market settling down after a volatile phase of steep advances and sharp dives. Weakness in the natural resource sectors following declines in the prices of some commodities helped offset gains made by insurers after market-friendly comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Yellen said on Wednesday that the U.S. economy appeared to be moving slowly toward full employment, but that it would need help from the central bank for some time to come. Global markets rallied on those comments, and the benchmark Canadian index recorded its biggest gain in more than two months on Wednesday. Investors, however, did not appear to have a strong catalyst on Thursday to move the market one way or the other. With the market to be closed on the Good Friday holiday, trading volumes were sluggish. "People don't really want to go out on any limbs or take on big positions ahead of an extended period where the market's going to be closed," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "Last week, we saw the markets got to the high end of the trading ranges, got knocked back to the low end," he added. "Now they've bounced back to the middle and they're just sitting there." Cieszynski said he expects the TSX to outperform the S&P 500 index this year. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 5.82 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,452.34. About 75 million shares had changed hands at midmorning, compared with an average daily volume of about 344 million shares in March, according to Thomson Reuters data and figures from market operator TMX Group. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.2 percent. Insurer Manulife Financial Corp added 0.9 percent to C$20.56, and rival Sun Life Financial Inc advanced nearly 1 percent to C$36.66. Shares of energy producers gave back 0.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc declined 0.5 percent to C$39.94, and Encana Corp lost 1.7 percent to C$25.22. The bullion price slipped, weighing on gold-mining shares. Barrick Gold Corp shed 0.6 percent to C$20.07. ($1=$1.10 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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