CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as Ukraine fears lift gold miners
* TSX up 4.09 points, or 0.03 percent, at 14,249.23 * Five of the 10 main index sectors advance * Gold-mining shares hit six-month high By John Tilak TORONTO, March 14 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Friday as anxiety about the Ukraine crisis weighed broadly on the market but also stoked safe-haven buying of bullion, which drove up gold-mining shares. Shares of gold producers, which are heavily weighted on the Toronto stock market's benchmark index, climbed for a fourth straight session and hit their highest level in more than six months. They are up about 35 percent this year. Moscow sent more troops into Crimea on Friday and repeated its threat to invade other parts of Ukraine, ignoring efforts by the West to prevent the holding of a referendum in Crimea on Sunday on separating from Ukraine and joining Russia. Worries about the volatile situation in Ukraine and fears of a slowdown in the Chinese economy have gripped investors in recent days, with the index dropping more than 70 points on Thursday. The benchmark index looked set to end the week slightly lower, after posting gains in the five previous weeks. It is up about 4.5 percent so far in 2014. "The market seems to be recovering from a one-day panic. It's a good sign," said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. "There's reason for concern about Ukraine and China, but the market is handling it better than it has done in the past," he added. "It shows that the markets are in firmer ground than they were in the last couple of years." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 4.09 points, or 0.03 percent, at 14,249.23. "Our market will continue to outperform (U.S. stocks) in 2014," Cockfield said. "We've got more potential, our multiples tend to be lower and the Canadian dollar seems to be reasonably stable." Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Gains in the price of oil helped lift energy shares. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd added 0.7 percent to C$39.73, and Suncor Energy Inc rose 0.3 percent to C$36.36. In the gold group, Goldcorp Inc advanced 1.2 percent to C$32.03, and Barrick Gold Corp was up 0.7 percent at C$23.14. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, declined 0.4 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada giving back 0.5 percent to C$71.44.
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