CANADA STOCKS-TSX hangs on to tiny gain despite gold retreat

Thu Jul 7, 2011 5:34pm EDT
 
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 * TSX edges up 2.90 points to close at 13,406.00
 * Energy shares hold firm to keep overall index higher
 * Four of 10 index sectors up
 * U.S. jobs report for June to set Friday's market tone
 (Adds details)
 TORONTO, July 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market
index finished flat on Thursday, erasing gains it had held
through the day just moments before the session end as market
players squared positions ahead of Friday's highly anticipated
U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for June.
 Most of the index's gain was drawn from its oil group,
which rose 0.68 percent as the price of oil rallied. Driving
oil prices higher was U.S. data that showed a brighter hiring
climate in the U.S. private sector, a fall in new claims for
jobless benefits, and stronger same-store sales at key U.S.
retailers. [ID:nN1E7660BF] [O/R]
 "Oil was certainly picking up a little bit of a bid, a
little bit of a confidence on those numbers this morning," said
John Kurgan, senior market strategist at commodity futures
brokerage Lind-Waldock.
 "It looks like we're making a run back to that $100 area,
there's definitely some strength there."
 Suncor Energy SU.TO, up 1.47 percent at C$39.22, Cenovus
Energy CVE.TO, up 2.95 percent at C$36.60, and Canadian
Natural Resources CNQ.TO, up 1.3 percent at C$41.67, were the
three most influential gainers on the index.
 The index's materials group began to unwind gains late in
the session, finishing down 0.03 percent, as the price of gold
eased from session highs. Safe-haven interest in gold sparked
by euro zone debt worries softened a bit after European Central
Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet signaled the bank would
continue to raise interest rates and offered to help Portugal
stay solvent. [MKTS/GLOB] [GOL/]
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE eked out a tiny gain of 2.90 points to close at
13,406.00 after rising as high as 13,474.89 earlier in the day.
Six of the index's 10 sectors ended lower.
"The (U.S.) jobless claims were marginally better than what
people were expecting but the big numbers come tomorrow," said
Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.
 "Whatever that unemployment number is, those payroll
numbers are going to set the tone for the whole market."
 U.S. nonfarm payrolls likely rose modestly in June after
suffering a setback in May. Employers are expected to have
created 90,000 jobs last month after expanding payrolls by only
54,000 in May, which was the smallest gain in eight months. The
May figure represented a sharp slowdown in job creation after a
232,000 jump in April. [ID:nN1E7640U2] ECONUS
 Research In Motion RIM.TO rose 4 percent to C$27.87 after
the BlackBerry maker said it added more than one million
subscribers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in less than
three weeks. [ID:nN1E7660ZC]
 ($1=$0.96 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng and Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter
Galloway)