TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged higher on Thursday as a jump in shares of energy and gold-mining companies helped offset broader market weakness fueled by sluggish U.S. economic data.
U.S. retail sales growth missed expectations in May and first-time applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, data showed.
Increasing violence in Iraq heightened worries of a broader conflict, but those same concerns helped boost oil prices to a three-month high.
On the Toronto market, shares of energy producers climbed 1.7 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) jumping 2.8 percent to C$45.44 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) adding 1.8 percent to C$47.06.
The Canadian benchmark index is up more than 9 percent this year and has outperformed most other major global indexes.
“The market keeps going up, but I wouldn't call it anywhere near a bubble in terms of investors pouring money in," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
“The mood is still cautious out there,” he added. “There's still room to grow here.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 17.50 points, or 0.12 percent, at 14,909.63. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gave back 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 0.2 percent to C$74.69, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) slipped 0.5 percent to C$54.37.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, reflected higher prices for commodities such as gold and silver and was up 1.3 percent. In the group, Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) was up 3.2 percent at C$27.20, and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) advanced 1.7 percent to C$18.16.
Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe; and Peter Galloway