* TSX down 6.17 points at 12,762.53
* TD Bank climbs 2.1 percent on strong results (Updates with details, commentary)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was little changed on Thursday after after better-than-expected earnings from Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and decent U.S. manufacturing data helped offset weak global economic reports.
The pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector ticked down to a crawl in August but fared better than economists had forecast, with the index of factory activity above the 50 level, which separates expansion from contraction. [ID:nN1E7800J6]
As U.S. crude futures turned positive, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) rose 1.9 percent to C$36.07, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained 0.5 percent to C$31.40. [O/R]
“Any time you get over 50 in recent days it’s been positive,” said John Kurgan, senior market strategist at MF Global Canada.
“It leads to an economy that is struggling to try to muddle along and get better, but the employment is a much bigger number ... People are looking for any kind of sign, they’ll pick this thing apart on Friday,” he added, referring to the release of the closely watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report.
Data on Thursday also showed U.S. jobless claims fell as expected, another mildly positive sign for the market. [ID:nN1E7800A8]
At 10:43 a.m. (1443 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was down 6.17 points at 12,762.53. Light volume contributed to earlier swings with many traders away ahead of the Labour Day holiday weekend.
TD was the most influential gainer, climbing 2.1 percent to C$79.07, after reporting its profit rose 23 percent due to stronger loan volumes at its Canadian and U.S. retail units. TD also raised its dividend by 3 percent. [ID:nN1E77U1CO]
The strong result and dividend increase - the second bank to up its dividend in recent days - capped a relatively healthy quarter for the country’s big banks.
Dragging on the gains however was Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), which missed earnings estimates last week. Royal was down 0.8 percent at C$49.72.
Gold miners also sagged 0.7 percent on weak bullion prices. Kinross Gold (K.TO) fell 2.1 percent to C$16.68 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) slipped 0.8 percent to C$49.46. [GOL/]
Dismal European economic data also weighed on confidence as euro zone manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in almost two years in August, underlining investor concerns about a deteriorating global growth picture. [IDnL5E7K10NK]
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson)