TSX touches two-week high after jobs data

Fri Feb 7, 2014 4:29pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed to its highest in two weeks on Friday, supported by gains in most major sectors as investors cheered a strong Canadian jobs report and shrugged off disappointing U.S. nonfarm payrolls data.

The Toronto market was up for a fourth straight session, following a major selloff on Monday, and managed to end the week higher.

Weighing on the index, shares of Baytex Energy Corp BTE.TO tumbled a day after the oil producer agreed to buy Australia's Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd AUT.AX for C$2.6 billion ($2.4 billion) including debt.

The Canadian economy recorded its biggest employment gain since August in January, topping market estimates, and the unemployment rate fell, according to government figures.

The U.S. jobs report painted a mixed picture as employers hired fewer workers than expected in January, but the unemployment rate hit a new five-year low.

"Despite the (U.S.) headline numbers being weak, the fact that it was not a total disaster has helped to bring some confidence back to the market," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"It's more a function of investors viewing recent declines as a buying opportunity, coupled with the fact that there's been some stabilization in emerging markets," he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 73.10 points, or 0.53 percent, at 13,786.50.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch