CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits highest close in nearly four months

Fri Feb 3, 2012 5:00pm EST
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* TSX ends up 23.80 pts, or 0.2 pct at 12,577.28

* Highest close since Oct. 8

* U.S. jobs data lifts financials, energy shares

* Weak Canadian employment, Greek doubts weigh

By Jon Cook

TORONTO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks closed at their highest level in nearly four months on Friday, boosted by financial and energy issues as surprisingly healthy U.S. employment figures offset sluggish Canadian jobs data and uncertainty over a Greek debt deal.

U.S. job creation in January far outstripped analyst expectations, with the unemployment rate dropping to a near three-year low of 8.3 percent.

In addition, the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector unexpectedly accelerated to its highest level in nearly a year.

"We've had a stream of generally positive numbers and the rally is already looking pretty strong," said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy. "The market is wanting to believe these numbers are sustainable."   Continued...