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Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. Stocks are rising in early trading on Wall Street after the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell below 8 per cent for the first time in almost four years. (Richard Drew/AP)
Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. Stocks are rising in early trading on Wall Street after the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell below 8 per cent for the first time in almost four years. (Richard Drew/AP)

At midday: S&P 500 hits fresh 5-year high Add to ...

U.S. stocks remained higher in midday trading on Friday, following an upbeat monthly payrolls from the U.S. Labor Department – but sagging commodity prices weighed on Canada’s benchmark index.

At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 54 points or 0.4 per cent, to 13,630. The broader S&P 500 was up 5 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1467 – marking its highest level since 2007. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 5 points, to 12,442.

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The moves follow a relatively strong non-farm payrolls report for September. While job gains of 114,000 last month were merely in line with expectations, the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent from 8.1 per cent. That was far better than expectations, and it comes as more people find work, as opposed to more people giving up looking for work.

Within the S&P 500, materials rose 0.9 per cent, industrials and consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.7 per cent each and financials rose 0.5 per cent.

However, key commodity prices were weak. Crude oil, which has been whipsawed throughout most of this week, fell to $89.29 (U.S.) a barrel, down $2.42. Gold fell to $1,781 an ounce, down $9.

Canadian energy stocks fell 0.1 per cent and materials fell 0.3 per cent. Other key segments of the benchmark index were higher, though: Industrials rose 0.8 per cent and financials rose 0.4 per cent.

In Europe, major indexes rose. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 1.3 per cent.

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