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The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)
The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)

At the open: TSX surges on surprise U.S. jobless numbers Add to ...

The Toronto stock market leaped ahead Friday morning after a surprise improvement in the U.S. jobless rate.

The S&P/TSX composite index was 108.65 points higher at 12,488.29 shortly after markets opened.

The U.S. Labour Department said employers added 165,000 jobs in April, while both February and March numbers were also better than first thought. The gains trimmed the U.S. unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 per cent.

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The Canadian dollar was down 0.07 of a cent at 99.11 cents (U.S.).

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials was ahead 135.39 at 14,966.97, while the S&P was up 16.98 points at 1,614.57 and the Nasdaq rose 36.46 points to 3,377.08.

In commodities, the June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.15 to $95.14 (U.S.) a barrel.

July copper gained 1.7 cents to $3.27 (U.S.) a pound while June gold bullion was off $1.40 to $1,466.20 (U.S.) an ounce.

In earnings, Air Canada says it narrowed its net loss to $260-million or 95 cents per diluted share in the first quarter. That was down from a net loss of $274-million or 99 cents per share in the same 2012 quarter. Air Canada shares fell 17 cents to $2.71.

BlackBerry says the U.S. Department of Defence has approved its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones and PlayBook tablets for use on its networks, a key security approval for the technology company. Shares rose 28 cents to $16.11.

Rona Inc. has hired Alain Brisebois, a 30-year veteran of the retail industry who previously worked at Alimentation Couche-Tard, to be its chief commercial officer and senior vice-president of operations. Shares rose 16 cents to $10.31.

Gains in Europe were limited somewhat by the European Union’s downgrade of its economic forecasts. In its spring update, the EU said it expected the 17-country euro zone’s economy to shrink 0.4 per cent this year, 0.1 percentage points worse than its February prediction.

By midday in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 per cent at 6,475.93, while Germany’s DAX was 0.3 per cent higher at 7,982.51 and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.1 per cent to 3,864.43.

Earlier, in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1 per cent to close at 22,689.96. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4 per cent to 1,965.71 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was nearly unchanged at 5,129.50.

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