(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Thursday as gains in material and financial stocks were offset by losses in energy shares, which tracked lower oil prices.
* At 9:51 a.m. ET (1351 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index .GSPTSE rose 5.47 points, or 0.04 percent, to 15,633.4.
* Oil prices slipped as swelling U.S. crude inventories and record weekly U.S. production clashed with OPEC supply cuts and the potential for new U.S. sanctions against Iran. [O/R]
* The energy group, which was the biggest drag on the TSX, was down 0.9 percent.
* Weighing on the energy sector was shares of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO), which fell 1.5 percent after Canada’s largest independent petroleum producer reported quarterly results.
* Also hurting market sentiment was domestic data, which showed Canada’s trade deficit in goods jumped to a record high in March on a surge in imports.
* The materials sector, up 0.9 percent, gained on the back of gold prices, which rose after the U.S. central bank reassured investors that increases to interest rates would be gradual.[GOL/]
* Shares of Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) gained 3.2 percent after Canada’s largest insurer reported an 18.3 percent jump in first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, boosting the heavyweight financial sector.
* Seven of the 10 main index sectors were higher.
* On the earnings front, Crescent Point Energy Corp (CPG.TO) fell 4.8 percent after the oil and gas producer reported a first-quarter loss as it sold Canadian crude at a bigger discount.
* SNC-Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO) reported a 13 percent fall in quarterly profit, hurt by higher costs, sending shares of the construction and engineering firm down 3.9 percent.
* Telecommunications company BCE Inc’s <BCE.TO first-quarter profit narrowly missed analysts’ estimates.
* The TSX posted no new 52-week highs and one new low. Across all Canadian issues there were two new 52-week highs and four new lows.
* The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Parkland Fuel Corp (PKI.TO), which rose 4.5 percent after the company reported first-quarter results.
* Norbord Inc (OSB.TO), the largest decliner on the index, was down 6.5 percent after posting quarterly results.
* Among the most active Canadian stocks by volume was Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO), which reported a rise in its favored measure of profit and agreed to sell its Toronto aircraft assembly site to a pension fund, sending shares of the plane and train maker up 1 percent.
* Manulife Financial and Neovasc Inc (NVCN.TO) were also among the most heavily traded stocks.
* Volume on the TSX index was 15.12 million shares. Total volume on Thursday was 28.17 million shares.
Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel