CANADA STOCKS-TSX drops on U.S. data, weaker gold prices

* TSX falls 55.61 points, or 0.38 percent, to 14,403.50
    * Six of the 10 main index sectors decline
    * Gold-mining shares fall with bullion price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, April 3 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index fell
on Thursday, hit by sluggish U.S. economic data and weaker gold
    Investors also digested news that the European Central Bank
left interest rates unchanged, though it said it was willing to
act if inflation stays too low for too long. 
    Data released on Thursday showed a greater-than-expected
rise in the number of Americans filing new claims for
unemployment benefits last week. 
    Investors are now awaiting the monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls
report on Friday, a key indicator of the health of the world's
biggest economy. 
    The Toronto stock market's benchmark index was down on
Thursday after gaining in each of the previous four sessions. It
is up about 5.6 percent this year.
    "The market is backing and filling today," said David
Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland
Wealth Management.
    "The picture really hasn't changed. It's slow growth," he
said about the economic data. "The market's attention is
shifting from a macro level to individual corporate earnings."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 55.61 points, or 0.38 percent, at 14,403.50. 
    Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    Industrials stocks shed 0.6 percent. Canadian National
Railway Co fell 1.2 percent to C$61.60, and Canadian
Pacific Railway Ltd was down 0.8 percent at C$167.41
    Shares of gold-mining companies showed the sharpest decline,
losing 1.4 percent after the price of bullion fell. Goldcorp Inc
 gave back 1.5 percent to C$27.21, and Barrick Gold Corp
 declined 1.4 percent to C$20.20.
    In corporate news, Goldcorp extended its takeover bid for
Osisko Mining Corp. Osisko shares fell 1.1 percent to
    ($1=$1.10 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)