CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2-year high as resources gain after jobs data

Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:55am EST
 
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* TSX rises 75.92 points, or 0.56 percent, to 13,705.33
    * Eight of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Saputo up after company extends offer for Warrnambool

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed to its highest in 2-1/2 years on Friday after
weaker-than-expected jobs reports in North America boosted
commodity prices, helping push up natural resource shares.
    Prices of gold, oil and other commodities gained on
speculation that soft U.S. employment figures for December would
push the U.S. Federal Reserve to delay winding down its monetary
stimulus program.  
    Government data showed the Canadian economy lost 45,900 jobs
last month, resulting in a higher unemployment rate and raising
expectations that the Bank of Canada might trim interest rates.
 
    The United States recorded the weakest jobs growth in about
three years in December, with some indications that severe cold
weather had an impact. 
    "It's a double whammy," said Shailesh Kshatriya, associate
director for client investment strategies at Russell Investments
Canada. 
    "It was a horrible number. There's no way to sugarcoat it,"
he said of the Canadian jobs report. The data, coupled with
sluggish trade numbers and high household indebtedness, points
to a slight weakening of the Canadian economy, he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 75.92 points, or 0.56 percent, at 13,705.33,
after rising as high as 13,708.78, its highest level since
mid-2011.
    "We do think that the TSX has room to move higher, but 
there will be a lot of volatility," Kshatriya said.
    Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Gold-mining shares jumped 3.6 percent. Goldcorp Inc 
added 4.6 percent to $25.43, and Barrick Gold Corp 
advanced 3.4 percent to C$19.89.
    Shares of energy producers were up 0.7 percent. Canadian
Natural Resources Ltd rose 2 percent to C$35.82, and
had the biggest positive influence on the index. Suncor Energy
Inc gained 1.2 percent to C$37.74.
    In company news, Saputo Inc extended its offer for
Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Holdings Co
. Saputo's stock firmed 0.2 percent to C$49.13.