Toronto stocks little changed in early trading

Mon Mar 3, 2008 11:07am EST
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TORONTO, March 3 (Reuters) - Toronto stocks were little changed in early, fluctuating trade on Monday, as firm resource prices were offset by weak banking shares ahead of the Bank of Canada's next decision on interest rates.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 15.21 points, or 0.1 percent, at 13,597.90.

Throughout the session, the index has flipped between a low of 13,546 and a high of 13,667.

"This market is all over the place and will continue to be all over the place," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.

"I would think we are going to be cautious (ahead of the Bank of Canada move)."

Only four of the TSX index's 10 main groups rose, but a 1.2 percent boost in the energy group and a 2.2 percent rise in the resource-heavy materials index propped up the index.

Oil shares climbed as U.S. crude oil jumped 1.5 percent to $103.33 a barrel on rising prices for heating fuels and a weak U.S. dollar.

Most of Canada's biggest oil companies were higher including Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) which added C$3.15 to C$104.65 and EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), which rose 67 Canadian cents to C$75.70.

Gold shares advanced as the price for the precious metal inched closer to the $1,000 an ounce mark. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) was up C$1.67 at C$69.67 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's biggest producer, was up C$1.62 at C$52.82.   Continued...