TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index closed higher on Friday, but off the three-week high it hit earlier on the day when a stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report galvanized the market.
Still, the advance pushed the benchmark index into positive territory on the year and helped it clock a gain of 1.8 percent on the week.
Data showed U.S. employment rose more than expected in April, pushing the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 percent and easing concern that the economy faced a sharp slowdown.
“It tells us the underlying private economy in the United States is acting a little better,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment Management.
“The good news in the United States is the manufacturing economy seems to be coming back, housing appears to have stabilized and consumers have delivered to the point where they can come back into the market,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 58.39 points, or 0.47 percent, at 12,438.03. The day’s high was 12,533.83, the index’s highest level since April 11.
“People seem to have had some of their faith rekindled and restored,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod. “(The U.S. jobs report) indicates economic activity continues to move modestly higher.”
Eight of the 10 main sectors of the index were higher.
Energy shares rose 0.7 percent, getting a boost from higher oil prices. <O/R> In the group, Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) rose 0.9 percent to C$31.09.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, was up 1 percent, and financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, gained 0.2 percent.
In company news, Air Canada ACb.TO reported a 3 percent decline in first-quarter revenue due in part to a drop in premium travel demand and tough pricing competition. Its shares fell 6.3 percent to C$2.70.
BlackBerry (BB.TO) stock got a boost early in the day after an analyst said the company’s new Q10 smartphone, which comes with a physical keyboard, is selling well in Canada and Britain. The stock ended the day 0.4 percent lower at C$15.77, however.
Editing by Peter Galloway