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CANADA STOCKS-TSX steady as U.S. data offset by declining miners

* TSX falls 12.92 points, or 0.09 percent, to 13,601.71 * Six of 10 main index sectors decline * HudBay slips after announcing stock offering * Canadian Natural gains after dropping asset sale plans By John Tilak TORONTO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was little changed on Thursday, with positive sentiment after the release of upbeat U.S. labor market data offset by declines in mining shares.

A day after a positive private jobs report, figures on Thursday indicated the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell slightly more than expected.

That suggested to some investors that the employment outlook was brightening, raising expectations of a bullish nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

"There should be an improvement (in jobs growth)," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "We believe the employment picture will gradually improve over time." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was down 12.92 points, or 0.09 percent, at 13,601.71.

Trading in the Toronto market has been choppy so far this year. The benchmark index gained 9.6 percent in 2013.

"There's not a lot of activity. The market remains very volatile," said Michael. "We think the market will sawtooth its way higher between now and the end of the year." "On risk reward basis, common stocks appear to be relatively good value compared to bonds," he added.

Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red on Thursday.

The mining sub-sector declined 1.8 percent.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd dropped 3.3 percent to CC$18.17, and Teck Resources Ltd gave back 2.9 percent to C$25.51.

HudBay Minerals Inc slipped 5.2 percent to C$8.35 after the company agreed to offer 18.2 million of its common stock at C$8.25 a share.

Shares of energy producers lost 0.3 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc giving back 0.2 percent to C$37.39.

But Canadian Natural Resources Ltd climbed 0.6 percent to C$35.46 after the oil producer said it dropped plans to dispose of its Montney shale-gas property after failing to attract a suitable offer.