U.S. stock market indexes are on the rise this morning after stronger-than-expected U.S. payrolls data, but the TSX is struggling, undermined by weakness in gold and crude oil prices.
In early trading, the S&P 500 is up 3 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 1,430; the Dow Jones industrial average is up 5 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 13,237 and the S&P/TSX index is down 43 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 12,456.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose 171,000, well ahead of the 125,000 jobs that economists were expecting. The unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 per cent, as forecast.
It's the last important economic reading before the U.S. Presidential election. The relatively strong number may help bolster President Barack Obama's re-election odds but opponent Mitt Romney has already called the jobs data "a sad reminder" of the sluggish economy.
The news helped crude oil come off its earlier lows; the active December Nymex contract is currently down about half a percentage point at $86.63 (U.S.). But gold is struggling, burdened by a rallying greenback as currency traders cheer the U.S. jobs data. The Comex December futures contract is down about half a percentage point at just below $1,700 (U.S.) an ounce.
The Canadian jobs report was rather underwhelming. The country's employers added 1,800 jobs in October, less than the 10,000 new positions economists had been expecting. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.4 per cent. Still, the loonie ticked up modestly after the data, and is up one-fifth of a cent at 1.005 (U.S.)
European markets gained upward traction after the U.S. jobs report. News overnight there wasn't particularly encouraging, with euro zone manufacturing shrinking for the 15th month running in October, as output and new orders fell. Asian markets rallied sharply overnight, spurred by more than 1 per cent gains in the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Starbucks and Priceline.com are both up about 10 per cent in early trading after reporting upbeat earnings reports and outlooks late on Thursday.
Research In Motion Ltd. is up more than 2 per cent after gaining 10 per cent on Thursday on optimism its new BlackBerry 10 software will help pull the company out of its slump.