Canada’s main stock index was down slightly on Friday as a decline in shares of gold miners, which followed the bullion price lower, was offset by strength in the energy sector.
Energy shares received a boost from the continuing conflict in Iraq, which fueled worries about oil supply in the region and helped push up the price of U.S. crude oil.
The energy group has had the biggest influence on the market this year, gaining more than 23 per cent. The broader Toronto market is up about 11 per cent so far in 2014.
“I think the geopolitical issues that we’re seeing right now are going to have some short-term influence on commodity prices, so that could act as a near-term support,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.
“But more broadly, the focus continues to be on sustainable economic expansion and the impact that’s going to have on corporate profits,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 15.26 points, or -0.10 per cent, at 15,096.95. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, climbed slightly, with Bank of Montreal rising 0.5 per cent to $77.73 and Royal Bank of Canada advancing 0.3 per cent to $75.30.
Shares of energy producers gained 0.3 per cent. Suncor Energy Inc was up 0.6 per cent at $46.23, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd strengthened 0.7 per cent to $48.13.
In the gold-mining sector, Barrick Gold Corp lost 0.5 per cent to $19.40.
U.S markets were all in the green Friday morning, with the S&P 500 index up 3.57 points to 1,963.05, the Dow Jones industrials up 41.00 to 16,962.46 and the Nasdaq composite up 3.47 points to 4,362.79.
Follow us on Twitter: