Canada's main stock market ended little changed on Thursday as investors were reluctant to take moves ahead of the country's jobs data due out Friday.
Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index edged up 0.11 percent to 13,629.41 points as investors are awaiting the labor market data for December due to be released by Statistics Canada on Friday, with expectations that about 13,000 jobs were newly created in December.
However, Thursday witnessed the highest closing record since June 2011.
The healthcare sector, the biggest gainer this week, rose 1.58 percent on Thursday, with the Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. up 4.87 Canadian dollars to 143. 51 Canadian dollars per share.
The mining sector lost 1.86 percent, the biggest drop among major sectors, as March copper price slipped to 3.30 U.S. dollars a pound on Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Canada's copper producers stumbled with Teck Resources Ltd. dropping 2.4 percent to 27.23 Canadian dollars per share, and HudBay Minerals Inc. down 2.72 percent to 8.57 Canadian dollars.
The energy sector dipped 0.67 percent as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. announced its decision to keep the Montney shale gas assets that it put on the market early last year. Shares of the Calgary-based oil, gas and oil sands producer sank 0.37 percent to 35.11 Canadian dollars.
The industrials sector increased 0.56 percent with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. up 3.45 Canadian dollars to 161.19 Canadian dollars apiece, while the financial sector gained 0.5 percent with Canada's biggest bank, Royal Bank of Canada, up 0.17 percent to 71. 12 Canadian dollars.
The Canadian dollar closed lower Thursday as traders were disappointed with a slowdown in the housing sector.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said housing starts for December came in at an annual rate of 189,672 units in December, within expectations of economists, but a decrease from 197,797 in November.
The Canadian dollar closed at 0.9223 U.S. dollar on Thursday, down from 0.9242 U.S. dollar in Wednesday's trading.