TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Friday, as a drop in energy shares prompted by soft Chinese economic data was offset by gains in auto parts maker Magna International Inc and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan .
But the index was still on track for its biggest weekly gain since late May after prices rallied on hopes of more stimulus from major central banks.
Energy stocks were by far the biggest drag on the index on Friday, dropping 0.8 percent, as oil prices fell on data showing China’s total exports grew less than forecast and its crude oil imports fell in July. Weaker global oil demand forecasts from the International Energy Agency also weighed.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd , down 1.75 percent to C$30.84, and Suncor Energy Inc , down 0.94 percent to C$31.57, played the biggest role of any two stocks in weighing on the market.
“The overnight news coming out of China, the disappointing export numbers, that has an impact, the Canadian employment numbers also has an impact,” said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal. “But with all that you’d think the impact would be bigger.”
Canada’s economy unexpectedly lost 30,400 jobs in July in a third disappointing month for the labor market, indicating tepid growth that will likely keep the central bank on the sidelines for longer.
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