TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended slightly lower on Friday, remaining in bear market territory as mining stocks weakened and a major healthcare company fell more than 6 percent.
Relief that China's major stock indexes regained some ground proved short lived, with the market unable to build on an earlier rally despite solid U.S. and Canadian jobs gains.
"The positive that came out today was the Canadian job numbers," said Kevin Headland, director of capital markets and strategy at Manulife Asset Management.
Canada added more jobs than anticipated in December, including modest gains in the struggling manufacturing and natural resources sectors. In the United States, December jobs gains also topped expectations.
The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, fell 1.4 percent. That included a 3.4 percent drop in Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) to C$11.92 as bullion pulled back from a nine-week high. [GOL/]
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) fell 6.2 percent to C$128.87, trading at its lowest level since Dec. 14.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed 2.76 points lower, or down 0.02 percent, at 12,445.45, marking an eighth straight lower close.
Just four of the index's 10 main groups were in negative territory.
The index fell 4.3 percent for the week, tracking weakness in most global equity markets as the new year kicked off with wild gyrations in the Chinese stock market, which fanned fears of broader malaise.
The index closed 2015 with an 11 percent loss, its worst year since the global financial crisis of 2008. On Thursday, the index dropped into bear market territory, down more than 20 percent from its record high hit in September 2014.
Energy stocks rose 0.2 percent despite a drop in crude oil prices, including a 2.7 percent gain for Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) to C$44.89.
Oil fell for a fifth straight day on Friday, losing 10 percent on the week. U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled at $33.16 a barrel, down 0.33 percent. [O/R]
"Even if we saw a base in oil prices, less negative could be a positive for the Canadian marketplace," Headland said.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) rose 0.5 percent to C$159.55. Two trade unions representing workers at No. 4 U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC.N) have joined a growing chorus of opposition to an unsolicited bid from Canadian Pacific Railway.
Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler