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At the open: TSX up as commodities gain traction Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was higher early Thursday as the latest jobs data from the United States showed a slight gain and oil prices also moved higher.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 39.19 points to 12,398.66, while the TSX Venture Exchange was up 6.55 points to 1,331.77.

The Canadian dollar increased 0.43 of a cent to 101.63 cents US.

The U.S. Labour Department reported that initial jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 367,000, which was largely in line with expectations and consistent with only modest hires.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials were up 34.36 points to 13,528.97. The Nasdaq composite index fell back 0.17 of a point to 3,135.06, while the S&P 500 index gained 4.41 points to 1,445.40.

The data on claims for unemployment benefits came a day before the U.S. government’s closely watched monthly employment report.

“Overall little here to change current perceptions of the U.S. labour market, with hiring rather than firing more important at this stage of the cycle,” said Andrew Grantham of CIBC World Markets.

“Little market reaction expected as we await tomorrow’s payrolls.”

On the TSX, gold stocks led the way, up 0.8 per cent, as December bullion rose $8.30 to US$1,788.10 an ounce, while December copper was ahead just over half a cent at US$3.79 a pound.

November crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved up 62 cents to US$88.76 a barrel, with the energy sector up 0.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged. Investors are also awaiting news from the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank. The ECB left its main interest rate unchanged from the current record low of 0.75 per cent.

Stocks across Europe were also marginally higher with Germany’s DAX up 0.1 per cent at 7,313 while the CAC-40 in France increased 0.1 to 3,401. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.03 per cent higher at 5,824.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.9 per cent to close at 8,824.59 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose nearly 0.1 per cent to 20,907.95. Chinese markets remained on holiday.

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