The Toronto stock market climbed higher near midday on Friday after the number of Canadian jobs created last month outperformed expectations.
The S&P/TSX composite index gained 52.10 points to 14,454.31.
The Canadian dollar traded ahead 0.58 of a cent at 91.17 cents (U.S.), after Statistics Canada said 43,000 net new jobs were added in March.
The added jobs eased Canada’s unemployment rate down one-tenth of a point to 6.9 per cent – matching a post-recession low – but most of the gains were in part-time positions and the vast majority of the new jobs went to young Canadians.
“I tend to not see that necessarily as a great sign for the Canadian economy,” said Kevin Headland, director of the portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management in an interview.
“It is positive because we are creating jobs, especially for the youth, but not very high quality jobs.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials slid 11.81 points to 16,560.74, the Nasdaq was down 44.44 points to 4,193.30 while the S&P 500 index moved down two points to 1,886.77.
A separate U.S. jobs report showed that American employers added 192,000 jobs in March, which fell slightly short of consensus predictions of about 195,000 and was lower than February.
On the positive side, the employment growth helped back up opinions of a recovery of the U.S. economy, but much of that sentiment was fuelled by a positive revision to numbers for January and February. The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 per cent.
The latest U.S. job figures weren’t able to shift perceptions about where the Federal Reserve is headed. During the past few months, the Fed has been reducing its monetary stimulus amid mounting evidence of a sustainable economic recovery in the U.S.
All in all, the U.S. jobs report provided “further evidence that the economy is rebounding from the chill of an unusually severe, stormy winter,” wrote CIBC World Markets senior economist Peter Buchanan in a note.
Prices for major commodities were higher as oil continued to rise after closing above $100 (U.S.) a barrel.
May crude contracts advanced $1.12 to $101.41 a barrel, while the May copper contract gained 0.7 of a cent to $3.03 a pound while June bullion gained $15.10 to $1,299.70 an ounce.
Shares of Air Canada climbed nearly 23 per cent after the company said results for the first quarter will be better than it expected. Improved revenues and lower costs will help earnings remain in-line with the same time last year, the airline said.
The new outlook erases a $15-million to $30-million shortfall that the company had initially anticipated in the period. Air Canada stock rose $1.27 to $7.03 (Canadian).
European bourses were generally up Friday. London’s FTSE 100 index was ahead 0.8 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX advanced 0.9 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.9 per cent.
In Asia, market indexes were mixed. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.5 per cent per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.24 per cent but China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.75 per cent.
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