*TSX ends down 98.33 points, or 0.77 pct, at 12,602.41
*Index ends week 2.2 percent higher
*Eight of 10 sectors weaker, materials group rises on gold (Corrects the number of sectors that were weaker in bullet point and 9th paragraph)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended lower on Friday after grim U.S. jobs numbers revived recession fears, but rallying gold miners helped cushion the fall.
Oil and gas shares were among the hardest hit as risk assets were sold off after data unexpectedly showed U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in August. [ID:nOAT004865]
U.S. crude futures dropped more than $2 a barrel following the report, sending Suncor Energy (SU.TO) down 3.2 percent to C$30.00, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) down 3.7 percent to C$34.93.
Offsetting the decline, gold miners climbed 3.1 percent to the top of the gainers list, tracking higher bullion prices, which neared $1,900 an ounce on safe-haven buying. [GOL/]
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) jumped 3.1 percent to C$51.97, Goldcorp (G.TO) advanced 3.1 percent to C$53.76, and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) surged 5.5 percent to C$16.58.
“Near term, you don’t want to be underweight gold,” said Marcus Xu, director of equity investments at Genus Capital Management in Vancouver.
“If you actually look at the changes in gold prices versus changes in gold stocks over the last three months, there’s a lot of value in gold stocks versus the underlying commodity,” he added, pointing to small and mid-cap names that could be takeover targets.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed 98.33 points, or 0.77 percent, lower at 12,602.41. The index ended the week 2.2 percent higher.
The TSX pared earlier losses of more than 1 percent as the materials group - home to gold miners - gained 1.5 percent. Telecoms also rose 0.25 percent, while the rest of the index’s 10 sectors were weaker, including financials, off 1.3 percent.
Laurentian Bank (LB.TO) lost 0.9 percent to C$43.20 despite reporting a 17 percent increase in net income in its third quarter as loan losses fell, beating analysts’ earnings expectations. [ID:nN1E7810G9]
“Even with all these good earnings on all these banks, you can see the bank shares haven’t done much ... it’s such a tough environment for banks right now given that the yields are so low,” Xu said.
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)