TSX flat as resource share gains offset by bank falls

Businessmen pass the Toronto Stock Exchange sing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index ended flat on Thursday, with materials and energy shares up with higher oil and base metals prices, while financial stocks weighed as retail sales data reinforced expectations the Bank of Canada is on hold until next year.

* The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended the session up 0.72 point at 16,074.30.

* Six of its 10 main sectors closed in the red, with gains focused in the resource sectors as prices for oil and most base metals rose with a weaker U.S. dollar.

* The energy group added 0.3 percent as U.S crude oil hit a two-year high, with pipeline operator Enbridge Inc adding 1.1 percent to C$47.53.

* The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.5 percent as copper prices rose for a fifth day.

* The financials group slipped 0.2 percent.

* Canadian retail sales rose far less than expected in September as higher gasoline prices were offset by a decline in purchases of vehicles and clothing, pointing to cooler economic growth that could keep the Bank of Canada cautious about raising interest rates further after hiking in July and September for the first time in seven years.

* Volumes were low with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, with 51.5 million shares changing hands compared with 132.69 million shares on Thursday.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Fergal Smith; Editing by Jonathan Oatis