TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended marginally higher on Thursday on firmness in resource issues, but disappointing results from Royal Bank of Canada limited gains.
Fighting to push the market higher were gold miners, which climbed even as bullion prices were slightly lower as a decline in U.S. jobless claims dented the metal's attraction as a safe-haven play after two days of gains.
Barrick Gold rose 1.8 percent to C$48.82 and Goldcorp climbed 2.8 percent to C$45.85, helping to push up the broader materials group by 0.9 percent.
Energy shares rose 0.3 percent as oil prices climbed on the modest improvement in U.S. jobs data and a weaker greenback.
Also helping to keep the TSX above water was National Bank of Canada, a top net gainer, which soared 4.2 percent to C$58.00 after it posted better than expected results.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index finished the day up just 5.06 points, or 0.04 percent, at 11,653.18. Six of its 10 main sectors were higher.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index closed 0.92 of a point lower, or 0.14 percent, at 677.41.
National's strong performance was in contrast to Royal Bank of Canada's. Shares of the country's biggest bank dropped 3.4 percent to C$48.95 after it reported quarterly profit that fell 18 percent, missing analyst estimates, as weak trading activity ate into capital markets income.
That pressured the broader financials index, which was off 0.8 percent and the leader on the downside.
"RBC is a big weighting on the index and they had disappointing earnings, so that's the biggest market impact on the negative side," said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal.
Elsewhere, Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 0.9 percent, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce dropped 1 percent and Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.1 percent.
Takeover target Potash Corp, down 0.8 percent at C$153.34, remained in the spotlight with BHP Billiton's chief executive expected to fly to North America this week to mount a charm offensive to woo Potash shareholders. Meanwhile a potential Chinese rival bidder reiterated it was closely watching BHP's $39 billion offer.
Colombian state-run oil company Ecopetrol said on Thursday that its new listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange will give it access to funds for an ambitious growth plan and provide opportunities to co-operate with Canadian companies operating in Colombia. Ecopetrol shares were up 2.7 percent at C$40.05.
Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson