CANADA STOCKS-TSX choppy as economic prospects weighed

Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:08am EST
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* TSX down 0.05 percent at 11,434.25

* Softer commodity prices pressure energy, materials

* All big banks rally on economic hope (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index seesawed slightly lower on Thursday morning as strength in banks battled with softer oil and gold prices, and investors weighed a Wal-Mart earnings outlook against an improvement in the U.S. labor market.

Most of the index's weakness came from the resource groups, oil and gas and materials, as U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 fell, while gold edged off the record high it hit early on Thursday as the U.S. dollar recovered from lows. [O/R][GOL/]

As a result, top commodity-linked stocks such as Barrick Gold ABX.TO eased 0.6 percent to C$44.81 and Suncor Energy SU.TO slipped 0.4 percent to C$36.58.

"We're seeing a lot of volatility in the commodities. It's a moving target today," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.

U.S. new jobless claims for the week fell to their lowest level since January, pointing to improvements in the U.S. employment market. But an earnings outlook for the crucial Christmas quarter from retail giant Wal-Mart WMT.N cast doubt about the strength of consumer spending in an economic recovery. [ID:nN12404234]   Continued...