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