TORONTO, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Canadian stock market was little changed Wednesday amid rising concerns that the U.S. government shutdown will last longer than expected and harm the economy.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped 8.44 points, or 0.07 percent, to finish the day's trading at 12,839.
The commodity-sensitive Canadian dollar was off the worst levels of the day, closing at 0.9675 U.S. dollars, down from 0. 9683 dollars Tuesday.
The U.S. Republicans in the House of Representatives insist that Democrats negotiate over a new U.S. health-care law to resolve the current deadlock, while Senate Democrats want Republicans to pass a straightforward temporary funding bill with no strings attached.
Losses on the Canadian stock market were limited by a strong gain in the gold sector as bullion's attraction as safe haven investment pushed gold prices higher. Shares in Barrick Gold Corporation were up 2.26 percent to 19.02 Canadian dollars apiece, while Goldcorp was up about 1 percent to 26.31 Canadian dollars.
The energy sector led decliners, down 0.75 percent while the November crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange erased early losses to rise 2 percent to 104.10 dollars a barrel. Suncor Energy was down 0.92 percent to 36.81 Canadian dollars a share.
The telecom sector fell 0.64 percent, with Rogers Communications shedding 44 Canadian cents to 43.91 Canadian dollars and Telus Corp., down 31 Canadian cents to 33.90 Canadian dollars a share.
The financial sector also weighed on the main index, down 0.44 percent as Manulife Financial Corp. dropped 0.81 percent to 17.14 Canadian dollars and Sun Life Financial lost 0.82 percent to 32.85 Canadian dollars.
Shares of Canada's smartphone maker BlackBerry were up 1 percent to 8.27 Canadian dollars apiece, recovering from early losses of more than 4 percent after a report said a U.S. private equity firm has expressed interest in the failing Waterloo-based smartphone maker. (1 U.S. dollar = 1.0332 Canadian dollar)