March 7, 2008 / 3:28 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks recover but resources still weigh

(Adds details, analyst)

TORONTO, March 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index dropped early but quickly recovered on Friday morning as banks, which led a big decline in the previous session, got a bargain-hunting boost.

The index was still in the red as the materials and energy sectors were hobbled by cooling commodities and U.S. jobs data that further stoked fears of a recession.

“The market opened on its lows, and it’s tried to rally here a little bit with bargain-hunting,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.

The S&P/TSX composite .GSPTSE was down 18.53 points, or 0.1 percent, at 13,341.91. It fell more than 240 points the day before, and dropped another 170 immediately after the market opened on Friday.

Seven of 10 sectors were in the red, with stocks as diverse as tech firm Research In Motion RIM.TO, energy firm Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and miner Goldcorp (G.TO) leading the fall.

Spot gold, which was up earlier in the morning, dipped along with base metals and crude oil, knocking the wind out of the resource-heavy TSX.

The index was also hampered by data that showed U.S. employers slashed some 63,000 jobs in February, yet another sign the world’s biggest economy is slowing. For details, see: [nN06253619]

The material sector dropped 0.7 percent, while energy firms fell 0.5 percent. The small tech group gave up 1 percent with RIM, the BlackBerry maker, down C$1.52 at C$95.48.

In the oil patch, Suncor Energy lost 58 Canadian cents to C$107.19. And in the gold-mining subsector, which dipped more than 1 percent, Goldcorp fell 55 Canadian cents to C$43.43.

The losses would have been worse were it not for a 1 percent jump in financials, where Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) climbed 98 Canadian cents to C$46.70.

“Some of these names are just trying to find a bottom, and if they can hold that bottom, we might get a sustainable rally here,” Latimer said.

$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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