CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms after fitful early trade
* TSX up 0.04 percent at 12,654.84
* 7 of 10 sectors higher in volatile trade (Adds details)
TORONTO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index vacillated around the unchanged mark on Thursday morning as the market weighed another round of strong U.S. corporate earnings against weaker commodity prices.
Energy shares were among the most volatile of the index's groups, up 0.03 percent, as oil slipped towards $82 per barrel, after a slight slowing in Chinese economic growth and following another build in U.S. crude oil stocks.
The heavily weighted materials group was down 0.05 percent. Base-metals stocks were lifted by higher copper prices and by a 0.23 percent rise in the Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index .CRB, a global commodities benchmark. But bullion prices were down and seemingly on course for the first weekly fall in 12 weeks, which pulled down gold-mining shares.
Financials also straddled the unchanged mark, consolidating after four straight advancing sessions, while industrials rose 0.4 percent.
Key advancing stocks included Teck Resources TCKb.TO, up 1.52 percent to C$46, while Talisman Energy TLM.TO gained 0.7 percent to C$18.20. Bombardier (BBDb.TO: Quote) climbed 3.16 percent to C$5.23.
On the downside, natural gas producer Encana (ECA.TO: Quote) extended losses a day after releasing disappointing results and cutting its outlook, while Kinross Gold K.TO gave up 0.86 percent to C$18.43. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was off 0.32 percent at C$56.67.
"It's a mixed performance today. I think people are just digesting yesterday's moves. You had some good numbers out of the U.S.," said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.
"The market's got a bit of a pulse right now."
At 10:40 a.m. (1440 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was 4.92 points, or 0.04 percent, higher at 12,654.84, bouncing around in a 45-point range early in the session. Seven of the index's 10 main groups were up.
Helping to steady the market, a regional U.S. Federal Reserve report showed modest improvement in business conditions in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic area. [ID:nEAP104L00]
Confidence in U.S. corporate results firmed with results from Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote), online auctioneer eBay Inc (EBAY.O: Quote), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O: Quote), the DVD rental and movie streaming service, and miner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. FCX.N.
Some fears about China's recent rate hike ebbed after a batch of data showing a slowdown in economic growth, albeit to a still healthy level, was taken as a sign that there may not be much more credit tightening. [ID:nTOE69K00X] [MKTS/GLOB]
Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) was a stock to watch on Thursday as the Saskatchewan government was set to reveal its recommendation on BHP Billiton's hostile bid for the fertilizer company, which is based in the province. Potash Corp was down 0.5 percent at C$145.15. [ID:nN20221123]
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)
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