CANADA STOCKS-TSX little changed as investors await Yellen speech

Reuters

* TSX dips 7.35 points, or 0.05 percent, to 15,554.60 * Seven of 10 main index sectors advance * Goldcorp, Barrick slip with bullion price By John Tilak TORONTO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday as investors digested mixed economic data and awaited a speech from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for clues on the direction of the central bank's monetary policy.

Figures showed a bigger-than-expected drop in the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week.

Further, separate surveys indicated a slowdown in business growth in China and the euro zone.

Yellen is expected to address policymakers at an annual meeting of central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

"Being data dependent, the Fed is going to say that things are looking better but they remain accommodative," said John Stephenson, president of Stephenson & Co Capital Management.

"We're entering into a historically strong period for the market," he said.

Stephenson said despite recent gains, valuations were not "outrageous." Investors can find value in the Canadian energy, financial, industrial and technology sectors, he said.

The benchmark TSX, which hit a record high in the previous session, is up about 14 percent this year.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 7.35 points, or 0.05 percent, at 15,554.60. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.4 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada rising 0.3 percent to C$81.87 and Toronto Dominion Bank adding 0.4 percent to C$57.78.

Shares of energy producers received a lift from a higher U.S. crude oil price. Suncor Energy Inc was up at C$43.70.

The gold-mining sector dropped with the bullion price. Goldcorp Inc shed 3.2 percent to C$30.15 and Barrick Gold Corp declined 2.3 percent to C$20.06.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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