December 7, 2007 / 10:20 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks scrape out small gain on jobs data

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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed with a small gain on Friday as buoyant jobs news eased worries over the health of the U.S. economy.

Most of the TSX’s sectors advanced after better than expected Canadian employment figures, hoping they were a sign of resilience in the economy in the face of ongoing troubles in the U.S. mortgage and housing sectors.

Modest jobs growth in the United States also helped ease fears of a recession south of the border.

“We had pretty decent gains over past two days, so I think investors were quite satisfied with that and just seeing where we go from here,” said Elvis Picardo, investment strategist at Northern Securities Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 13.17 points, or 0.1 percent, at 13,862.97 with seven of its 10 main groups higher.

The index jumped 270 points in the previous two sessions and is up 1.3 percent for the week.

Shares of Imax Corp IMX.TO jumped to their highest point in over a year after the giant-screen theater company said it had made a deal to install 100 digital projection systems at AMC Entertainment Inc (AC.N) theaters in the United States.

IMAX closed up C$2.63, or 56 percent, at C$7.33.

On the downside, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) continued its slide amid worries over its exposure to the troubled U.S. subprime mortgage sector.

CIBC was the biggest net decliner by weight on the day, sagging C$2.85, or 3.5 percent, to C$79.55 after a drop of more than 5 percent on Thursday. The financial sector as a whole, however, was up 0.1 percent.

The heavyweight energy sector was down 0.1 percent as the price of oil fell $1.95 to $88.28 a barrel.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) fell 8 Canadian cents, or 0.1 percent, to C$103.07 while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was down 33 Canadian cents, or 0.5 percent, at C$67.76.

“A key development this week has been we are seeing some confidence coming back into the markets,” Picardo said.

“We’ve seen a lot of uncertainty right through November and the early part of this month as well, but this week certainly we have seen some buying come back in to the market.”

Picardo said some of the confidence was due to a plan outlined by U.S. President George W. Bush to freeze interest-rate increases on adjustable-rate subprime mortgages for five years.

“In this case the market has been so concerned about the fallout from the situation, any sign of stability or any help would be taken as a good sign.”

Market volume was 350 million shares worth C$7 billion. Advancers outpaced decliners 842 to 796. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 0.51 points, or 0.06 percent, at 807.50.

In New York, stocks also ended little changed. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 5.69 points, or 0.04 percent, to 13,625.58, while the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 2.87 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,706.16.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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