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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 9, 2014. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 9, 2014. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

At midday: TSX climbs to near six-year high on U.S. jobs report Add to ...

Canada’s main stock index climbed to its highest in almost six years on Friday after a bullish U.S. jobs report helped ease concerns about the recovery of the world’s biggest economy.

A flurry of acquisition deals and earnings reports also provided support. Shares of engineering and construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc jumped 7.2 per cent to $53.20 after SNC said it will sell its AltaLink transmission system to Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s energy unit for about $2.9-billion.

Reuters May. 02 2014, 6:18 AM EDT

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U.S. job growth increased at its fastest rate in more than two years in April, topping market expectations and suggesting that the economy was bouncing back after weather-related weakness in the first quarter.

“Most of the focus has been on the U.S. jobs data, which has supported the view that growth is going to rebound in the second quarter after the slowdown in the first quarter,” said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.

“And the leisurely pace of Fed tapering is a supportive backdrop for stocks and commodity markets, and the TSX,” he added, referring to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gradual pullback from its monetary stimulus program.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 63.30 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 14,727.37. The S&P 500 was down 0.26 of a point to 1,883.42, while the Dow Jones Industrials fell 19.22 points to 16,539.65 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 0.74 of a point to 4,126.71.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.08 of a cent to 91.32 cents (U.S.).

The Canadian benchmark is set to record its third straight weekly gain. It is up about 8.2 per cent this year.All of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Friday.

Shares of energy producers benefited from higher oil prices. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd added nearly 1 per cent to $45.18, and Suncor Energy Inc advanced 0.8 per cent to $42.85.

TransCanada Corp reported a 14 per cent rise in adjusted quarterly profit as a severe winter boosted demand for its pipelines. The stock was little changed.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd dropped 1.5 per cent to $21.24 after the miner reported lower first-quarter earnings late on Thursday.

Westport Innovations Inc shot up 21 per cent to $17.19 after the company reported quarterly results. The stock was the biggest percentage gainer on the index.

News Corp said it would buy romance novel publisher Harlequin Enterprises Ltd from newspaper publisher Torstar Corp to boost its non-English book publishing. Torstar’s shares jumped 13 per cent to $7.55.

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