TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Friday as a decline in shares of gold miners was offset by strength in the energy sector, which extended a solid run since the start of the year.
Energy shares received a boost from the continuing conflict in Iraq, which fueled worries about oil supply in the region and helped push up the price of U.S. crude oil.
The energy group has had the biggest influence on the market this year, gaining more than 23 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE is up about 11 percent so far in 2014. It hit an all-time closing high on Thursday and ended the week higher.
”When an index reaches new highs, you definitely take a step back,” said Patrick Blais, a portfolio manager and managing director at Manulife Asset Management. “The markets definitely have had a very good run, so you’ve got to be more careful about cyclical names.”
“Given our constructive view on the U.S. economy and a number of central banks remain very accommodative, we’re positive on the markets,” he added.
The TSX closed down 3.11 points, or 0.02 percent, at 15,109.10.
“With stock valuations now close to historical norms, the case for similar equity price gains going forward (has) diminished,” Capital Economics said in a research note. “Moreover, we suspect that some of the recent gains in the energy sector are overdone.”
Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on Friday.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, climbed slightly, with Bank of Montreal BMO.TO rising 0.3 percent to C$77.57.
Shares of energy producers gained 0.6 percent. Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO was up 0.3 percent at C$46.07, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO strengthened 1.6 percent to C$48.57.
In the gold-mining sector, Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO lost 2 percent to C$19.12.
In corporate news, BlackBerry BB.TO jumped 6.8 percent, to C$10.51, after investment newsletter Citron Research, typically known as a short-seller, touted the stock in a report.
Editing by James Dalgleish and Chris Reese