August 29, 2008 / 8:49 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks edge up as energy shares gain

* TSX ends little changed as energy shares rise

* Techs hit by worries over corporate spending

* Economic numbers set a sour tone (Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index climbed slightly on Friday, lifted by energy issues that helped offset tech shares that were hurt by concerns of a weakening appetite for business spending.

Economic news set the tone early after data showed the Canadian economy had a slight 0.3 percent annual growth rate in the second quarter and narrowly escaped falling into a recession, generally defined as two quarters of decline in a row. See: [ID:nN29445075].

Technology shares were bruised by worries that the sector could falter after bellwether Dell Inc DELL.O said companies are cutting back on tech spending.

The comments helped make Research In Motion RIM.TO the biggest drag by weight on the Toronto index, as the BlackBerry-maker fell 3.1 percent to C$129.37. The group overall lost 0.4 percent.

Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri, said that while the economic numbers set a sour tone, the limited market reaction showed investors were more interested in the outlook going forward.

“While, yes, it says things were worse than we actually thought then, it doesn’t necessarily tell us a lot about what happens next,” said Warne.

“The things that are interesting is that while growth has been slower than expected, the things that are underlying it show a slowdown in consumer spending, which is no surprise.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 20.77 points, or 0.15 percent, at 13,771.25 with all but two of its 10 main sectors rising ahead of the Labour Day long weekend.

On the upside, the energy sector rose 0.8 percent as investors kept their eyes on Hurricane Gustav, which was projected to enter the Gulf of Mexico early next week.

Oil edged down to settle at $115.46 a barrel after climbing earlier in the day as anxiety over potential damage to oil refineries and platforms in the Gulf eased.

Suncor Energy SU.TO rose 1.4 percent to C$60.80, while Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO added 0.7 percent to C$90.64. ($1=$1.06 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)

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