UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks kept lower by commodities

Fri Aug 8, 2008 3:03pm EDT
 
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* TSX briefly turns positive, then slides

* Energy and materials issues sag on commodities

* Financials, consumer discretionary stocks buoy

TORONTO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange's main index briefly tipped into positive territory on Friday afternoon, but quickly slipped back into the red, held down by weakness in energy and material issues.

The benchmark index, which dropped 100 points early in the session, bounced back as lower oil prices lifted consumer and industrial shares, and banks rose.

"Even though the economic news -- the jobs report -- wasn't good this morning, what people are seeing is the lower oil prices tend to be good news for all the other sectors," said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

Figures released on Friday showed the economy shed 55,000 jobs in July, far below expectations for a gain of 5,000 and was the biggest job loss since February 1991.

But the move into positive territory was short-lived, as a 3.3 percent drop in energy and a 3.4 percent fall in materials pulled the benchmark index lower.   Continued...