CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as market cools ahead of long weekend

Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:00am EDT

* TSX up 5.82 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,452.34
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Gold-mining shares slip along with bullion price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
little changed on Thursday with investors reluctant to take new
positions ahead of the long Easter weekend, and with the market
settling down after a volatile phase of steep advances and sharp
dives.
    Weakness in the natural resource sectors following declines
in the prices of some commodities helped offset gains made by
insurers after market-friendly comments by U.S. Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen. 
    Yellen said on Wednesday that the U.S. economy appeared to
be moving slowly toward full employment, but that it would need
help from the central bank for some time to come.
 
    Global markets rallied on those comments, and the benchmark
Canadian index recorded its biggest gain in more than two months
on Wednesday.
    Investors, however, did not appear to have a strong catalyst
on Thursday to move the market one way or the other. With the
market to be closed on the Good Friday holiday, trading volumes
were sluggish.
    "People don't really want to go out on any limbs or take on
big positions ahead of an extended period where the market's
going to be closed," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market
analyst at CMC Markets Canada.
    "Last week, we saw the markets got to the high end of the
trading ranges, got knocked back to the low end," he added. "Now
they've bounced back to the middle and they're just sitting
there."
    Cieszynski said he expects the TSX to outperform the S&P 500
index this year. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 5.82 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,452.34.
    About 75 million shares had changed hands at midmorning,
compared with an average daily volume of about 344 million
shares in March, according to Thomson Reuters data and figures
from market operator TMX Group.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
climbed 0.2 percent. Insurer Manulife Financial Corp 
added 0.9 percent to C$20.56, and rival Sun Life Financial Inc
 advanced nearly 1 percent to C$36.66.
    Shares of energy producers gave back 0.3 percent. Suncor
Energy Inc declined 0.5 percent to C$39.94, and Encana
Corp lost 1.7 percent to C$25.22.
    The bullion price slipped, weighing on gold-mining shares.
Barrick Gold Corp shed 0.6 percent to C$20.07.
    ($1=$1.10 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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