The Toronto stock market was higher Friday morning as traders bought up stocks beaten down by three straight days of losses triggered by another round of concern about the pace of the global recovery.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 51.38 points to 12,390.74 and the TSX Venture Exchange was up 3.94 points to 1,553.7.
Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) shares were up 43 cents to $14.12 after its chief executive said the BlackBerry maker needs substantial change after posting a $125-million (U.S.) quarterly loss. RIM's revenue fell $1.4-billion to $4.2-billion as the company loses market share to Apple's iPhone and devices using Google's Android operating system.
The Canadian dollar slipped 0.31 of a cent to 100.02 cents (U.S.), a day after the Conservative government announced it is trimming $5.2-billion in annual federal spending and cutting thousands of public sector jobs while raising the age of eligibility for old age security to 67 from 65, starting a decade from now.
Traders also took in data showing that the economy grew by 0.1 per cent in January, which was in line with expectations.
Statistics Canada said that gains in manufacturing were partly offset by a decline in oil and gas extraction in January.
U.S. markets were off the best levels of the session after a regional manufacturing survey from the U.S. raised further concerns about the pace of the global recovery.
The Chicago purchasing managers index, a snapshot of manufacturing in the Midwest, decelerated in March but marked its fifth straight month above 60. The PMI fell to 62.2 from 64 in February, against estimates of a reading of 63.6.
The Dow Jones industrials was ahead 31.1 points to 13,176.92.
The Nasdaq composite index was down 3.78 points to 3,091.58 and the S&P 500 index rose 2.4 points to 1,405.68.
Other economic data showed that U.S. consumers boosted their spending in February by the most in seven months, up 0.8 per cent. But Americans' income only grew a slight 0.2 per cent and the saving rate fell to its lowest point in more than two years.
North American stock markets have lost ground this week as a series of economic reports, including disappointing data on consumer confidence and durable goods orders, raised concerns about the pace of the American economic revival. Traders also worried that stock market gains since the lows of last October may not be justified by the pace of the global economic recovery.
“Since October, we had this tremendous move and we have been pretty positive,” said Robert Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
From early October to early March, the TSX gained 13.6 per cent.
“But I must say when you have that big a move, it's typically two steps forward and one back and so, we're probably going to have some kind of retrenchment here.?”
Commodity prices and in turn resource stocks particularly suffered because of concerns that demand for oil and metals could falter.
On Friday, the May crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed 45 cents to $103.23 (U.S.) after losing more than $4 over the last two sessions. The TSX energy sector was up 0.35 per cent as Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) climbed 44 cents to $32.90.
The base metals sector was ahead 0.31 per cent while copper rose three cents to $3.82 (U.S.) a pound after losing over nine cents earlier in the week. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) climbed 55 cents to $35.25.
The gold sector gained 0.7 per cent as bullion ran up $9.30 to $1,661.50 (U.S.). Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) moved 57 cents higher to $44.88.
The information technology sector was the leading advancer with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (TSX:MDA) ahead $1.19 to $45.59.
European markets were positive with London's FTSE ahead 0.35 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.56 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 rose 0.96 per cent.
Earlier in Asia, sentiment in stock markets was hurt by news that Japan's factory production fell a worse-than-expected 1.2 per cent in February — its first decline in three months — as demand for exports weakened. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo fell 0.3 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.3 per cent while mainland Chinese shares were mixed. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.4 per cent.
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