The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 14,000 points for the first time since October 2007, and the TSX opened higher and was close to wiping out Thursday's 109-point loss, as further signs emerged today that global economies were firmly on the recovery path.
In early trading, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 75 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 12,760; the S&P 500 was up 8 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 1,506.
Even shares in Research In Motion Ltd., which have lost almost 20 per cent of their value since the big BlackBerry 10 unveiling on Wednesday, are trading higher this morning, up about 3 per cent.
Commodities were mixed, however, with oil down 83 cents at $96.66 (U.S.) per barrel and gold up $11.70 at $1,673 per ounce.
This morning's U.S. employment report showed 157,000 jobs were created last month. That was just shy of the average forecast by economists, but the data also showed that the economy added about one-third of a million more jobs in 2012 than previously estimated.
In Asia, the Nikkei rose nearly half a percentage point after the yen fell to multi-year lows against the euro and the U.S. dollar, helping to provide a boost to the country's critical export sector.
Shares on the Shanghai stock exchange jumped 1.4 per cent after two separate surveys showed improvement in China's manufacturing sector, helped by a build-up in new orders. China's Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 50.4 for January, signifying expansion but down slightly from 50.6 in December. More upbeat was HSBC's final PMI index reading of 52.3, which rose from the previous month's 51.5 retreat.
Similar purchasing managers' data were released in Europe this morning, which indicated the region's manufacturing sector contracted at the slowest pace in nearly a year. While not overly rosy, the report suggests the economic downturn in Europe may have at least bottomed. Euro zone inflation data were also released this morning, showing an increase of 2 per cent in January from a year ago. Inflation there is now near the European Central Bank's target of close to, but below 2 per cent, and may give the ECB room to cut interest rates again to stimulate the economy.
A number of other U.S. reports provided further evidence the economy is on the mend. U.S construction spending rose 0.9 per cent in December and spending in November was revised upwards to growth of 0.1 per cent from an initial reading showing a drop of 0.3 per cent. The Institute for Supply Management's index rose to 53.1 per cent in January from 50.2 per cent in December, the highest since April and stronger than expected. And consumer sentiment in January rose to 73.8 from 72.9 in December, according to the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters. That was also a better reading than Wall Street had anticipated.
Here's a look at some stocks moving on news:
Exxon Mobil shares were down 0.4 per after reporting its fourth-quarter profit rose to a five-year high. Per-share profit beat Street estimates by 20 cents.
Reuters reported that Dell Inc. is close to an agreement to sell itself to a consortium led by founder Michael Dell and the private equity group Silver Lake Partners. Dell shares are up 4 per cent.
Ford reported a 22 per cent rise in January auto sales year-over-year, its best since 2006. Shares are up 0.7 per cent.
Mattel Inc. reported fourth-quarter earnings fell 17 per cent because of a litigation charge as sales rose 4.7 per cent. Shares opened up nearly unchanged.
Domtar Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit fell sharply to 54 cents a share from $1.63 a share a year ago on weak pulp and paper prices and higher energy and fibre costs. Shares open down nearly 4 per cent.