* TSX up 34.44 points, or 0.27 percent, to 12,574.24
* U.S. retail sales rise, but consumer sentiment falters
* Gold shares weaken with bullion (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index held on to moderate gains on Friday morning as declining gold-mining shares and poor U.S. consumer sentiment data cut into an advance led by energy and financial shares.
U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to its lowest in more than three decades, as fears of a stalled recovery combined with despair over government policies, a separate survey released on Friday showed. [ID:nN1E77B08W]
The report overshadowed confidence-boosting U.S. data that showed the biggest monthly gain in retail sales since March. A rally in Europe and another strong outlook from a technology company also helped boost the market following a very volatile week. [MKTS/GLOB]
“Despite some weak consumer confidence, the market’s been able to hold its gains or remain flat in Canada’s case, and that’s a positive,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal, noting that stabilizing markets in Europe may be attracting more value traders.
At 10:38 a.m. (1438 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 34.44 points, or 0.27 percent, to 12,574.24, building on gains of nearly 3 percent in the previous session. It had briefly opened lower before reaching a one-week high at 12,603.54.
Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were higher, led by oil gas, which climbed 0.93 percent. The materials group was the lone declining group, down 1.25 percent on weakening gold issues.
Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) was the top overall riser, up 3.8 percent at C$13.58, followed by Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), which rose 0.8 percent to C$54.21. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained 0.7 percent to C$32.45
But a hefty drop in gold mining shares kept the broader index in check as gold prices extended losses on Friday. Six gold miners were the top decliners, led by Goldcorp (G.TO), which shed 3.7 percent to C$48.83.
$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Frank McGurty