TORONTO (Reuters) - The TSX closed higher on Friday as investors looked past disappointing employment reports and focused instead on rebounding resource prices.
Gold was higher as the U.S. dollar tumbled, while oil rose as concerns about gasoline supplies following a Canadian refinery outage outweighed bearish data showing an unexpected rise in U.S. job losses in December.
Among major gainers, Teck Resources TCKb.TO rose 2.96 percent to C$41.79, while Talisman Energy TLM.TO rose 2.44 percent to C$20.58. The overall heavyweight leader was Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO), often seen as a barometer of economic recovery, up 2.9 percent at C$58.53.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 66.32 points, or 0.56 percent, at 11,953.83, after moving into negative territory several times.
Seven of the index’s 10 main groups advanced. The index finished the first week of 2010 1.7 percent higher.
The index seesawed early in the session as investors digested unexpectedly weak Canadian and U.S. employment numbers. Canada lost 2,600 jobs in December, while the United States lost 85,000. Unemployment rates remained steady in each country.
But the market turned around as some investors decided there was enough evidence that a broad trend toward recovery was intact, and as oil rose slightly.
“Investors have come back in. We’ve seen commodities have recovered a fair amount, which in turn has driven the market up a bit,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.
“It’s a case where people are still desperately trying to find good news to focus on, but I think there are fears growing that the recovery is a lot more fragile than people were hoping.”
Quarterly results will soon become the focus of the market as investors monitor whether companies will show growth in profits and revenues without the benefit of cost-cutting to help the bottom line.
Drug store chain Jean Coutu Group (PJCa.TO), one of the first companies to report quarterly results this year, saw its shares rise 3.29 percent to C$10.05 after it returned to profit, aided by stronger over-the-counter sales.
Agrium (AGU.TO), up 2.3 percent at C$70.70, also helped boost the index as a rating upgrade by Citigroup spurred buying, said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
First Quantum FQVE.OB rose 6.2 percent to C$91.95 after it resumed copper production at its Bwana Mkubwa processing plant in Zambia, according to the country’s mining minister.
Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway