CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed after 8 days of gains

Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:55am EDT
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* TSX up 0.28 percent at 8,714.74

* Commodity prices offer little direction (Adds details, quote)

TORONTO, March 20 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was little changed on Friday morning, holding on to eight days of gains, as flat commodity prices offered little direction to the resource-laden market.

At 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT), S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 24.25 points, or 0.28 percent, at 8,714.74, with eight of its 10 main groups higher.

The big financials sector rose 0.2 percent, helped by Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, which climbed 0.4 percent to C$35.55.

Oil and gas shares added 0.1 percent as the price of oil was slightly higher above $51 a barrel. EnCana ECA.TO was up 0.6 percent at C$53.32.

Materials were flat, down 0.02 percent, as the price of gold eased slightly and base metals were mixed. Goldcorp G.TO fell 0.1 percent to C$41.87.

The fact the market did not sell off sharply on Friday morning after eight days of gains may signal a change in sentiment, said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.

"The bear camp is losing faith, shorts are being squeezed and there's real money starting to get back into the market," he said, noting it remains to be seen how long the rally can last.

At Thursday's close the index was up 16 percent from the five-year low it hit two weeks ago.

($1=$1.24 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway)