*TSX up 2.63 points at 13,314.30
*Eight of 10 sectors stronger
*Canada jobs data beats consensus, U.S. disappoints (Updates with details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was little changed after three straight days of losses on Friday morning as strength in golds and financials offset weakness in energy shares following mixed North American employment data.
The index’s gold-mining subsector was up 1 percent, reversing earlier losses, as the price of the precious metal swung back into positive territory in volatile trade.
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) rose 0.6 percent to C$49.36, and Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) shot up 2.5 percent to C$71.41.
Data on Friday showed Canada’s economy created more jobs than expected in December after three months of disappointing numbers. [ID:nN07271210]
But U.S. employers hired far fewer workers than expected in December, showing the world’s biggest economy still struggling to gain momentum, but the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a more than 1-1/2 year low. [ID:nN06134458]
“I think the U.S. is gaining traction with their economy, and while it’s not going to be stellar, a little bit of traction would keep everybody very happy at this stage,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.
The index’s financial sector advanced 0.4 percent as Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s biggest lender and the heaviest stock in the index, picked up 0.3 percent to C$51.78. No. 2 Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) rose 0.4 percent to C$74.14.
“The financials are better today and they had been very sluggish the last little while,” Kinsey said. “We’re getting close to the end of this month and the first quarter for our banks and I think the consensus is there’s going to be some dividend increases and that will put a little more confidence into the financials as well.”
At 10:42 a.m. (1542 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 2.63 points at 13,314.30. Eight of its 10 sectors were higher.
“Straight through from July every month was up until now, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see a small correction,” Kinsey said.
The index’s energy group was off 0.7 percent despite a rebound in oil prices, and technology stocks were 0.4 percent lower.
In individual company news, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) skidded almost 5 percent to C$40.85 after a fire broke out on Thursday at the company’s Horizon oil sands upgrader in northern Alberta, sending several workers to hospital and halting production. [ID:nN06157068]
Potash Corp (POT.TO) dropped 2.3 percent to C$164.81 after a more than 4 percent surge in the previous session.
Jean Coutu Group (PJCa.TO) gained 1.1 percent to C$9.77 after the pharmacy chain reporting a higher quarterly profit that beat market estimates. [ID:nSGE706097]
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)