TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market closed little changed ahead of a much-anticipated U.S. job creation report which could provide an indication of where the Federal Reserve will go in cutting back on stimulus.

The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 14.78 points to 13,629.41, while the Canadian dollar fell 0.41 of a cent to 92.15 cents US. The loonie sank amid data showing lower housing starts and building permits issued at the end of 2013 and ahead of the release of Canadian jobless numbers tomorrow.

New York indexes were mainly lacklustre as the Dow Jones industrials lost 17.98 points to 16,444.76, the Nasdaq fell 9.42 points to 4,156.19 and the S&P 500 index added 0.64 of a point to 1,838.13.

The Fed last month cut its massive bond buying program from $85 billion to $75 billion. It made clear that further cuts were contingent upon economic performance, particularly the job market.

Data out over the last two sessions has reinforced the view that Friday's U.S. government jobless report could easily exceed expectations.