* Golds glimmer, leading materials group higher
* Eight sectors lower
* Layoffs announced at Bombardier, Magna, Domtar
* Markets await U.S., Canadian jobs data on Friday
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fell broadly on Thursday morning as anxiety ahead of Friday’s jobs reports from Canada and the United States weighed, but gains in the materials sector capped losses.
As market watchers prepare for January’s employment figures from the U.S. and Canada on Friday morning, autoparts maker Magna International MGa.TO and plane and train maker Bombardier (BBDb.TO) were among several Canadian companies to announce layoffs. Meanwhile, weekly U.S. jobless claims data surged to a 26-year high.
Bombardier was among the most active, down 1.1 percent at C$3.68, as the company said it plans to cut more than 1,300 jobs as it braces for a 10 percent drop in business jet orders. [ID:nN05358628]
Magna was off 2 percent at C$35 after it said it would shut a plant in Syracuse, New York, which will ultimately eliminate 1,400 jobs.
“Jobs are going to front and center for the next while. The economy is still in a deteriorating phase and job losses are likely to grab headlines for the next while and I think the market is going to react negatively to those,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
At 10:15 a.m. (1515 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was off 0.61 percent, or 52.65 points, at 8,640.44. Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were lower, with financials and energy among the weakest sectors.
Despite a darkening outlook in the job market, the TSX’s losses were limited by strength in the materials group, which were led 1.9 percent higher by advancing gold issues.
“Gold appears to be the one bright spot in the market again,” said Sprung.
The oil and gas group fell 1.44 percent as the price of crude dropped below $40 a barrel. In the sector, Husky Energy (HSE.TO) fell 4.5 percent to C$28.58 as Canada’s No. 2 oil producer and refiner reported a drop in quarterly results and cut its dividend. [ID:nN04293772]
In individual company news, Certicom Corp CIC.TO said Research In Motion’s RIM.TO C$3-a-share sweetened offer for the electronic security company is a “superior offer” to a previous bid from VeriSign Inc (VRSN.O). [ID:nN05346516]
Certicom rose 1.3 percent to C$3.20, while RIM fell 1.6 percent to C$68.03.
Brookfield Properties BPO.TO, one of Manhattan’s biggest landlords, reported a small increase in quarterly funds from operations, while net income jumped due to a gain. It also said it expects 2009 funds from operations per share to range between $1.42 to $1.49, compared to 2008 FFO of $1.59. Brookfield was up 4.5 percent at C$6.69. [ID:nN05260949]
Nova Chemicals NCX.TO extended gains for a second consecutive session, up 8.2 percent at C$2.11 on reports, since denied, that the raw plastics maker has secured $100 million to help it meet its financial obligations.
$1=$1.23 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson