The Toronto stock market shifted higher Friday as traders focused on concerning data about the Chinese economy, and whether it could lead to broader measures to help boost the global economy.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 32.76 points at 11,890.89, ending the week with a gain of about two per cent as a more bullish sentiment began to emerge. The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 2.05 points to 1,191.
The Canadian dollar was at $1.0091 (U.S.), up 0.1 of a cent. The loonie had been as low as $1.003, down nearly half a cent from Thursday’s close, shortly after Statistics Canada’s jobs report for July.
The federal agency reported that the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point to 7.3 per cent as the economy shed 30,400 jobs last month. The outcome was notably worse than the addition of about 6,000 jobs that analysts had expected.
Traders have been revisiting worries about the direction of the global economy after a series of economic data out of China showed that the world’s second-largest economy is facing a slowdown.
The Chinese economic figures causing most concern on Friday were the trade data for July. The country reported sharply lower growth in its exports.
The trade surplus with the 27-nation European Union, China’s biggest trading partner, narrowed by 37.9 per cent to $10.8-billion, reflecting sluggish demand in Europe, which is wrestling with a debt crisis and recession.
The figures, which came a day after China reported a slowdown in auto sales and factory output, are likely to heap the pressure on Beijing to take more measures to boost economic growth.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average moved up 42.76 points to 13,207.95 and the broader S&P slid 3.07 points to 1,405.87. The Nasdaq lost 2.22 points to 3,020.86.
At the TSX, energy stocks were off 0.4 per cent with the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange closing down 49 cents to $92.87 (U.S.) a barrel. Oil prices ended the week ahead nearly two per cent.
September copper moved down 3.3 cents to $3.39 a pound while December gold moved ahead $2.60 to $1,622.80 an ounce.
The biggest gainer was the information technology sector, up 3.7 per cent, with Open Text ahead $5.13 to $54.19.
Research In Motion shares gained 50 cents to $8.22 following reports that IBM has an “informal” interest in buying the BlackBerry maker’s enterprise division.
Financials stocks were up 0.2 per cent with Royal Bank slipping 10 cents to $51.15.
In earnings, railway tie and utility pole maker Stella-Jones Inc. is raising its dividend 6.7 per cent after reporting profits were up 20.1 per cent at $20.8-million or $1.30 per share in its most recent quarter. That compared with net profits of $17.3-million or $1.08 per share in the same year-earlier period. Its shares rose $1.88 to $59.60.
Aimia, the company behind the Aeroplan loyalty rewards program, expects that labour disruptions that hurt Air Canada’s quarterly profits will also affect the accumulation of air miles for the year.
The company earned $34.9-million or 19 cents per share for the quarter ended June 30, up from $15.3-million or seven cents per share a year ago. Revenue totalled $504.2-million, down from $507.6-million. Its shares rose 17 cents to $13.60.