CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as yearend nears, energy up

Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:44am EST
 
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 * TSX up 0.11 pct at 11,714.19
 * Energy shares lead mild gains
 (Adds details)
 TORONTO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was
little changed on Wednesday morning as market players began to
wind down dealings after a year of strong gains.
 Entering the session, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE
was up 30.2 percent for the year, and with 2009 drawing to a
close, investors seemed averse to taking new positions. Volume
was well below average.
 "Volume is a third or 25 percent of what it should be at
this time of day. That pretty much sums it up," said   
Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.
 At 10:27 a.m. (1527 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite was up
12.38 points, or 0.11 percent, at 11,714.19 with energy shares
leading the index to a small gain after it opened mildly
lower.
 Oil held near $79 a barrel, helping to lift key energy
names such as Talisman Energy TLM.TO, which was up 1 percent
at C$17.76, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), up 0.6
percent at C$57.43. Overall, the index's oil and gas group was
up 0.24 percent.
 Gold miners were weak as the price of gold fell 1 percent
after data showed business activity in the U.S. Midwest
expanded far more than expected in December, building
confidence in the U.S. economy and undermining gold's
safe-haven appeal. [GOL] [ID:nN30215445]
 Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) was down 0.34 percent at C$40.99, and
Yamana Gold (YRI.TO: Quote) fell 0.58 percent at C$11.90.
 The manufacturing data reinforced belief that the U.S.
economy is slowly recovering from the worst recession in
decades. The sentiment helped the Canadian stock index maintain
a slightly positive bent.
 Trading is thin this week as many key players take an
extended holiday break.
 ($1=$1.05 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)