TSX rises as jobs help offset mining retreat

Fri Mar 7, 2014 4:51pm EST
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose on Friday following better-than-expected U.S. jobs data, with gains in energy stocks offsetting a decline in mining.

U.S. jobs growth picked up sharply in February despite an unusually cold winter, with 175,000 new jobs created, compared with a loss of 7,000 in Canada. Sentiment in Canada is often influenced by news out of the United States, the country's largest trading partner.

"The U.S. jobs number was the big positive driver for the markets today. I think there was enough there to even offset the job losses in Canada. So yeah, it's been a good day that way," said Brian Pow, vice president, research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed 27.16 points, or 0.2 percent higher, to end the session at 14,299.08. Nine of the 10 main groups were in positive territory.

The index, which rose in four of the last five sessions, gained close to 0.7 percent on the week. It has gained 6 percent since it last troughed at the beginning of February.

Energy stocks were helped by stronger crude prices, which rose to $108 a barrel on supply concerns from the crisis in Ukraine and the U.S. jobs number. <O/R>

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was up 1.9 percent at C$41.59, while Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) rose 1.1 percent to C$36.91. The overall group climbed nearly 1 percent.

The heavily weighted financial group was up a modest 0.1 percent.   Continued...

An electronic board displays the midday TSX index in Toronto February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch