Toronto's main stock market index edged higher in cautious action on Thursday morning following weak U.S. jobs data and ahead of a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama detailing his plan for job creation.
Defensive stocks - golds, consumer staples and utilities - buoyed the index, while cyclical stocks, sensitive to economic growth, dragged.
It's the usual suspects. The banks have been under pressure for a long time here, probably in sympathy with the U.S. banks, said John Kinsey portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.
Everybody is waiting to hear what Mr. Obama has to say, he added.
Financials, down 0.8 percent, weighed most heavily. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) was the index's heaviest drag, dropping 1.6 percent to C$76.44, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) fell 0.4 percent to C$48.87.
But gold-mining stocks offset losses, with the safe-haven metal looking on track to recoup most of the previous session's heavy losses after the European Central Bank president highlighted downside risks to the European economy.
At 11:17 (1517 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 11.65 points, or 0.09 percent, at 12,733.21, having fallen to a low of 12,659.30 earlier in the session.
The energy sector slipped 0.1 percent as oil prices seesawed in choppy trade. Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO: Quote) was down 1.1 percent at C$33.85, but Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was among the top advancers, extending gains from the previous session as it rose 1.3 percent to C$30.74.