CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends flat, but up on month and quarter

Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:09pm EDT
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* TSX down 0.05 percent at 12,037.73

* Index posts fourth-straight quarterly gain

* Financial sector leads index lower

* Energy up on firmer oil, Athabasca IPO (Updates to close; adds details, quotes)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended little changed on Wednesday, as weak banking shares offset stronger resource issues, limiting its gains for the month and latest quarter.

The financial sector declined 0.3 percent, as data showing that U.S. private employers unexpectedly shed jobs in March, dampening hopes about the strength of the recovery. [ID:nN31218176]

Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO fell 0.5 percent to C$59.44, while Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO dropped 0.5 percent to C$75.70.

"A lot of the rebound in stock prices, and especially in the financial sector, has been predicated on a rapidly improving North American economy and the (U.S.) jobs numbers, being on the softer side, they're making investors a little bit cautious," said Elvis Picardo, an analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...