TORONTO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index advanced on Friday morning after Canadian and U.S. jobs data eased recession concerns and European talk of a big mining takeover lifted Canadian miners.
Figures released on Friday showed that Canada added four times more jobs in November than analysts had expected, while in the United States jobs data came in slightly better than expected.
The figures suggested the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut interest rates by a modest 25 basis points next week as the U.S. labor market showed strength despite tremors from the mortgage market.
Takeover speculation appeared to grip TSX mining stocks after European traders cited talk of a blockbuster takeover bid by Anglo American (AAL.L) for rival miner Xstrata XTA.L, which bought Canada’s Falconbridge last year.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 24.11 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,873.91 less than an hour after trading began.
The base metals subsector was up 1.5 percent, while the broader materials sector was flat, offset by falling gold miners.
Teck Cominco Ltd TCKb.TO, the giant zinc and nickel miner, was among the index’s biggest gainers, up C$1.61 at C$39.72, while Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) added 46 Canadian cents to C$41.73.
Overall, half of the index’s 10 main sectors were in positive terrain, with industrials leading the way, up 0.8 percent.
Gold producers led the downside as the price of spot gold slipped about $7 to just above $795 an ounce. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s biggest producer, was down 59 Canadian cents at C$39.88.
For a second day, the TSX’s biggest weighted loser was Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO). The bank was down C$1.63 at C$80.77 a day after it said it expects more U.S. subprime mortgage-related writedowns.
Elsewhere, retailer Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) tumbled C$1.91 to C$37.66 despite reporting a jump in fourth-quarter profit late on Thursday. For details, see: [nN06257381]
$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway