TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index climbed to its highest in two weeks on Friday, supported by gains in most major sectors as investors cheered a strong Canadian jobs report and shrugged off disappointing U.S. nonfarm payrolls data.
The Toronto market was up for a fourth straight session, following a major selloff on Monday, and managed to end the week higher.
Weighing on the index, shares of Baytex Energy Corp (BTE.TO) tumbled a day after the oil producer agreed to buy Australia’s Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd AUT.AX for C$2.6 billion ($2.4 billion) including debt.
The Canadian economy recorded its biggest employment gain since August in January, topping market estimates, and the unemployment rate fell, according to government figures.
The U.S. jobs report painted a mixed picture as employers hired fewer workers than expected in January, but the unemployment rate hit a new five-year low.
“Despite the (U.S.) headline numbers being weak, the fact that it was not a total disaster has helped to bring some confidence back to the market,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“It’s more a function of investors viewing recent declines as a buying opportunity, coupled with the fact that there’s been some stabilization in emerging markets,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 73.10 points, or 0.53 percent, at 13,786.50.
The benchmark Canadian index is up 1.2 percent this year, compared with a decline in the S&P 500 .SPX.
“As the world economy strengthens, the TSX will start to benefit,” said Picardo, who sees double-digit gains in the index this year. “That core premise hasn’t changed.”
Seven of the 10 main sectors on the resource-heavy index were higher on Friday.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, were up 0.2 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) adding 0.2 percent to C$70.10.
The biggest jump came from gold-mining shares, which gained 3 percent, lifted by a higher bullion price. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) rose 2.1 percent to C$20.88, and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) climbed 2.8 percent to C$28.24.
Energy shares felt the impact of Baytex’s decline on Friday. The stock shed 4.6 percent to C$39.72, and elsewhere in the group Encana Corp (ECA.TO) dropped 3.1 percent to C$20.31.
In corporate news, leisure-products company Dorel Industries Inc (DIIb.TO) said on Thursday that it will report a drop in fourth-quarter earnings. The stock slid 7.6 percent to C$36.66 and showed the biggest percentage decline on the index.
Editing by Peter Galloway