CANADA STOCKS-TSX flat as yearend nears, energy up
* 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)
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