* TSX edges up 2.90 points to close at 13,406.00
* Energy shares hold firm to keep overall index higher
* Four of 10 index sectors up (Updates to close)
TORONTO, July 7 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index finished flat on Thursday, erasing gains it had held through the day just moments before the session end as market players squared positions ahead of Friday’s highly anticipated U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for June.
Most of the index’s gain was drawn from its oil group, which rose 0.68 percent as the price of oil rallied. Driving oil prices higher was U.S. data that showed a brighter hiring climate in the U.S. private sector, a fall in new claims for jobless benefits, and stronger same-store sales at key U.S. retailers. [ID:nN1E7660BF] [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO), up 1.47 percent at C$39.22, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), up 2.95 percent at C$36.60, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), up 1.3 percent at C$41.67, were the three most influential gainers on the index.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE eked out a tiny gain of 2.90 points to close at 13,406.00. Six of the index’s 10 sectors were lower.
“The (U.S.) jobless claims were marginally better than what people were expecting but the big numbers come tomorrow,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.
“Whatever that unemployment number is, those payroll numbers are going to set the tone for the whole market.”
($1=$0.96 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)