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At the open: TSX higher on positive U.S. jobs data

In this Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, photo, job hunter Bessie Soley, of Locust Grove, Ga., files out an application at the National Job Fair in Atlanta.

John Bazemore/AP

The Toronto stock market was slightly higher as weak commodity prices pushed against jobs reports from both the U.S. and Canada that were considered mostly positive.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 23.60 points to 12,471.28, while the TSX Venture Exchange was up 1.75 points at 1,342.60.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.63 of a cent to 102.62 cents (U.S.).

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South of the border, the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell below eight per cent for the first time since January 2009, while hiring increased to 114,000 jobs in September.

In Canada, the jobs data was mixed with the unemployment rate rising one-tenth of a point to 7.4 per cent in September even as the overall the economy added 52,100 jobs — five times the number expected.

"The upward revisions to U.S. job growth in August and July imply even stronger momentum than was previously reported though the additional strength was narrowly based in government jobs," said RBC assistant chief economist Paul Ferley.

"The Fed will likely remain wary about the stronger pace of job growth being sustained given the volatility in this measure over the first half of the year and the weakening in payrolls that occurred in September. Thus the Fed is expected to continue to keep monetary conditions highly accommodative."

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials moved 60.82 points higher to 13,636.18. The Nasdaq composite index gained 15.92 points to 3,165.38 and the S&P 500 index gained 7.64 points to 1,469.04.

In commodities, November crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange weakened $1.42 to $90.29 (U.S.) a barrel.

December gold bullion dropped $10.90 to $1,785.60 (U.S.) an ounce, while December copper was ahead 1.7 cents at $3.80 a pound.

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In corporate news, Ottawa has decided to extend its review of a proposed takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp. by Malaysia's Petronas. The company says a review under the Investment Canada Act will extend to Oct. 19, under which it must be proven that the transaction is of "net benefit" to Canada. Shares of the company rose five cents to $21.84.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.9 per cent at 5,878 while Germany's DAX rose 1.2 per cent to 7,390. The CAC-40 in France was 1.4 per cent higher at 3,456.

Earlier, Asian stocks advanced, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index closing up 0.4 per cent at 8,863.30 after the Bank of Japan announced no change in the country's key interest rate following a two-day policy meeting.

South Korea's Kospi gained 0.1 per cent to 1,995.17 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent to 21,012.38. Markets in mainland China were closed for a public holiday.

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