CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends little changed, commodities drag

Wed Dec 24, 2008 1:39pm EST
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*TSX ends short pre-Christmas session on flat note

*Weaker commodities weigh

*Economic data in U.S., Canada better than expected

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended a shortened pre-Christmas session on flat note on Wednesday as lower commodity prices overshadowed better than expected economic data from both Canada and the United States.

Four of the market's 10 main subgroups finished lower, including the key energy and materials sectors, which dropped 0.43 percent and 0.95 percent, respectively.

Oil and gold prices fell in thin trade, as bullion shrugged off a weaker U.S. dollar and crude fell on continuing worries over demand.

The Toronto market closed at 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) ahead of Christmas Day.

Data on Wednesday showed Canada's gross domestic product shrank in October on declines in wholesale trade and manufacturing, paving the way for a widely expected recession. And in the United States, a flurry of figures showed the economy continues to struggle.   Continued...