TORONTO - The Toronto stock market closed positive after two days of triple digit slides thanks in large part to surging gold stocks.

But sentiment was generally weak in the wake of disappointing jobs and factory orders data from the U.S.

The S&P/TSX composite index added 11.54 points to 10,701.32 as the gold sector jumped 10 per cent.

The December bullion contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead $22 to US$978.50 as a weak greenback and economic data fuelled demand. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) gained $3.91 to $43.86 and Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) advanced $3.29 to $41.93.

The Canadian dollar moved down 0.06 of a cent to 90.51 cents U.S., while the TSX Venture Exchange gained 21.65 points to 1,184.89.

The gains were tempered by the ADP Employment Change Report for August which forecast job losses hit 298,000 in the U.S. last month.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report comes out on Friday and economists have been looking for it to show that 275,000 jobs were lost during August, following a loss of 247,000 in July.

Canadian job losses for August are expected to come in at about 22,000.

The Toronto market lost almost 300 points over the last two sessions on worries about the financial industry and prospects for a strong recovery that will justify the sharp runup in stocks for most of this year.

"I never bought into the euphoria that we've had - I just thought we got much ahead of ourselves," said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management in Vancouver.

"The earnings weren't there, there's a lot of cost-cutting, that has been perfected to a T. So, businesses certainly know what to do in cost-cutting mode, which really begs the question, when are we going to hire? I think we could have a jobless recovery."

New York markets were also weak following the ADP report and other data showing orders to U.S. factories rose less than expected in July as reduced demand for petroleum products offset a jump in orders for aircraft and other transportation goods.

The U.S. Commerce Department said that factory orders rose 1.3 per cent in July, well below analysts' expectations of a 2.2 per cent increase.

The Dow Jones industrials edged 29.93 points lower to 9,280.67.

The Nasdaq composite index was down 1.82 points to 1,967.07 while the S&P 500 index lost 3.29 points to 994.75.

Indexes were little changed in the wake of the release of the minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting, held Aug. 11-12.

Fed officials expected the pace of the recovery to "pick up" in 2010, but there was a range of views - and considerable uncertainty - about the likely strength of the upturn because of concerns about how consumers will behave.

The TSX financial sector continued to lose ground with talk about growing bank losses, as well as an analyst downgrade of American International Group, led traders to dump financial shares. CIBC (TSX:CM) was down $1.07 to $60.22 and TD Bank (TSX:TD) gave back $1.74 to $64.30.

The energy sector was off 1.13 per cent as oil prices stabilized after sinking almost US$5 a barrel over the last two days on demand concerns.

The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was unchanged at $68.05 as government data showed U.S. crude inventories fell 400,000 barrels last week, much less than the 1.9 million barrel decline that had been forecast. EnCana Corp. (TSX:ECA) shed 60 cents to $55.05 and Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) declined 57 cents to $28.55.

Superior Plus Corp. (TSX:SPB) says it is scooping up U.S.-based Sunoco Inc.'s retail heating oil and propane distribution business for US$82.5 million in cash plus working capital, an effort to boost its presence stateside. Shares in Superior Plus, which is Canada's largest propane dealer and a supplier of insulation and construction products, declined 47 cents to $11.37.

The base metals sector was supportive, ahead 1.5 per cent as December copper moved up three quarters of a cent to US$2.826 a pound. Sherritt International (TSX:S) improved 16 cents to $7.10.

Two major Canadian companies were in focus on the TSX.

Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) supported the TSX even as it reported that profit fell to US$202 million or 11 cents a share in its latest quarter, down from 14 cents a share or $259 million a year ago. Earnings beat estimates by two cents a share. Revenue was flat at $4.9 billion against estimates of about $4.57 billion and its shares were 27 cents or 7.05 per cent higher to $4.10.

Canadian life sciences company MDS Inc. (TSX:MDS) said it's going to sell off most of its major divisions and focus on its troubled Nordion medical isotope business.

American diversified toolmaker Danaher Corp. will pay $1.1 billion for MDS Inc.'s instrument business in a move to add mass spectrometers to its offerings, while cutting an additional 3,300 jobs and closing 30 facilities. MDS shares surged $1.94 or 30.22 per cent to $8.36.