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A Blackberry logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, in this September 23, 2013, file photo. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)
A Blackberry logo is seen at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, in this September 23, 2013, file photo. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

At the open: TSX moves higher, BlackBerry slides Add to ...

The Toronto stock market re-opened higher Friday after being closed for two days for Christmas and Boxing Day.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 53 points to 13,571.02, while the Canadian dollar dipped 0.42 of a cent to 93.75 cents (U.S.).

The gain came as the market digested news that BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis has cashed in $26-million worth of shares in the struggling smartphone company.

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The transaction now brings Lazaridis’ stake in the tech maker to five per cent. BlackBerry shares fell 6.06 per cent, or 50 cents, to $7.75. The info tech sector was the leading decliner on the TSX, dropping by 1.04 per cent.

Meanwhile, Wall Street remained in positive territory as the Dow Jones industrials were ahead 30.83 points to 16,510.71, the Nasdaq gained 0.17 points to 4,167.35 and the S&P 500 index gained 2.23 points to 1,844.25.

The rally has been credited to investors encouraged by recent figures that showed a sharp drop in unemployment benefits last week, another sign that the economy is faring better than expected.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November 2012.

But economists noted that the figures from late November and December may be warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The Labor Department reported that the less-volatile four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000.

Although Friday is a regular trading day in Toronto and in the U.S., it’s expected to be a quiet one with no economic news or corporate earnings set for release in either country and with markets closing again for the weekend.

Volume is expected to stay low, as it was most of this week. There are only three trading days left in 2013, and most traders are on vacation for the holidays.

Nearly all sectors on the TSX were in the green, with gold base metals climbing by 1.24 per cent and the gold sector jumping by 1.04 per cent.

Commodities were mixed as the February crude dipped 59 cents to $100.14 (U.S.) a barrel. Gold prices dipped 40 cents to $1,211.90 an ounce, while March copper fell two cents to $3.38 a pound.

But overnight, a sense of optimism continued overnight as markets in China and elsewhere surged on signs of a positive U.S. job market. More employment could mean more U.S. orders to drive exports from those countries.

Tokyo’s Nikkei index initially shed 0.3 per cent in early trading Friday as traders apparently sold off to collect profits from a five-year high the previous day, but the shares recovered to close slightly higher at 16,178.14 on optimism that a weaker yen would boost exports. The Nikkei is up more than 50 per cent since Jan. 4.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose by 0.2 per cent to 23,231.86, and China’s Shanghai composite gained 1.4 per cent to 2,199.06, after the Chinese Cabinet said this year’s economic growth would be 7.6 per cent, down only slightly from last year’s 7.7 per cent. Fears of a sharp slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy had fuelled market jitters earlier in the year.

South Korea’s Kospi index edged 0.2 per cent higher to 2,002.20, while Taiwan’s Taiex rose 0.6 per cent to 8,535.04. The Sensex index on India’s Bombay Stock Exchange was up 0.7 per cent to 21,219.40.

European traders also joined in the post-holiday cheer, with Germany’s Dax index rising 0.7 per cent in early trading to 9,559.20, the FTSE index of major British stocks up 0.5 per cent to 6,724.99 and France’s CAC up 0.7 per cent to 4,245.66.

This rally follows the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision last week to start reducing its monetary stimulus by $10-billion, to $75-billion a month starting in January. Many had feared the decision to rein in its policy of quantitative easing, or QE, would be negative for stocks as the stimulus has shored up markets over the past few years.

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