* TSX closes 3.27 points, or 0.03 pct, lower at 11,518.08
* Index fell more than 2 pct early in the session
* Oil and gas shares weigh on TSX
* Golds advance on safety bid (Adds details, quote)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, May 25 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended only slightly lower on Tuesday after a sharp fall early in the day as surging gold mining shares cushioned a drop in energy shares on worries that Europe's banking problems could derail global economic recovery.
Gold miners rose as bullion prices climbed on safe-haven buying, and by the end of the day energy and financial shares had trimmed early losses.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) gained 4.4 percent to C$45.30, while Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 5.2 percent to C$45.61. Kinross (K.TO) was up 3.5 percent at C$18.21, and Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) climbed 5.7 percent to C$11.21.
The index was able to find support at around its 200-day moving average of around 11,500, a technical level closely watched by strategists, said Jean-Francois Dion, vice president and portfolio advisor, Canadian equities, at RBC Dominion Securities.
"I don't think it's an exact science, but I think there's been focus around these levels and we seem to be finding support there," Dion said.
"If we find some solid support around the 200-day average I think it would be very positive for the overall for the market."
Heavyweight movers on the downside included Suncor Energy (SU.TO), down 1.7 percent at C$30.66, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) sank 1.1 percent at C$34.30. Also lower was Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country's biggest lender, down 0.82 percent at C$58.99, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), which fell 0.14 percent at C$49.43.
Energy shares and Canadian banks, even though they have limited exposure to European debt, were caught up in a global selloff early in the day that helped send the TSX down 2 percent.
Catalysts for the selloff included the necessity for the Bank of Spain to rescue a local lender over the weekend and the military tension between North and South Korea. [MKTS/GLOB] [[ID:nSGE64O03B]
"You have a market that is looking for a reason to go down," said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc.
Energy shares fell 1.5 percent, financials fell 0.5 percent, while materials were up 2.5 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day down 3.27 points, or 0.03 percent, at 11,518.08, with half of its 10 main sectors lower.
In individual company news, shares of First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) plunged 11.8 percent to C$55.36 on signs that the copper miner's legal troubles in the Democratic Republic of Congo are going from bad to worse. [ID:nSGE640OIN]
Shares of car parts maker Magna International MGa.TO rose 0.5 percent to C$72.92. It said on Tuesday it is seeking locations to produce batteries for electric cars, a rapidly growing business as carmakers try alternative power options. [ID:nLDE64O1L5]
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 0.24 of a point, or 0.04 percent, higher at 680.02.
$1=$1.07 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway