CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed as gold gains offset energy losses
* TSX down 3.43 points at 11,992.91 * Energy stocks off 0.6 percent * Materials group up 0.1 percent By Solarina Ho TORONTO, April 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Friday, helped by gold mining stocks, but gains were offset by weaker energy shares. Commodity prices have had a volatile week, with oil prices holding steady above $99 a barrel after a steep six-day fall and gold rebounding above $1,400 an ounce after a brutal sell-off earlier this week. Suncor Energy Inc led the decliners, with a 1.7 percent retreat to C$27.85. Enbridge Inc was off 0.7 percent at C$46.05. The overall energy group was off 0.6 percent. Barrick Gold Corp shares climbed 1.6 percent to C$18.74 and was among the most influential gainer on the index. Separately, a group of Canada's largest pension funds publicly objected to Barrick's move to award an $11.9 million signing bonus to its Co-Chairman John Thornton, saying the payment was unprecedented in Canada. The overall materials group, home to gold stocks was up 0.1 percent. "Investor sentiment isn't buoyant, but it isn't defeatist either," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod, adding that investors were bargain-hunting gold shares after the selloff. "We're going to have to live with a gold price that continues to flounder." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was trading down 3.43 points at 11,992.91 at midmorning. Half the index's 10 main sectors were in negative territory. Investor attention is turning to the Group of 20 meeting where policy makers are debating monetary policies and debt levels around the world. The heavily weighted financial group was up 0.1 percent, lifted in part by Royal Bank of Canada, which was up 0.2 percent at C$61.12 and National Bank of Canada, which advanced 1 percent to C$73.08. Bank of Nova Scotia held back the sector's gains, with a 0.4 percent retreat to C$56.54.
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