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A good day at the 'market'

The Toronto stock market was positive Friday amid much better than expected job creation data in Canada and the United States last month.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 41.05 points to 12,192.18 while the TSX Venture Exchange added 0.7 of a point to 1,187.4.

Statistics Canada reported that the economy added 59,000 jobs last month, while the jobless rate dropped by 0.2 of a point to 7.2 per cent.

Economists had expected a smaller increase of about 10,000 jobs last month, following a minimal 1,800 gain in October.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.3 of a cent to 101.2 cents US following the release of the report.

The news was equally surprising in the U.S., where economists had expected a lacklustre report with job creation impacted by superstorm Sandy.

But the U.S. Labour Department said the economy cranked out 146,000 jobs in November while the jobless rate decreased 0.2 of a point to 7.7 per cent. On a less positive note, job gains for the previous two months were ratcheted down by 49,000.

U.S. indexes rose following the the employment news as the Dow Jones industrials ran ahead 50.84 points to 13,124.88, the Nasdaq advanced 4.18 points to 2,993.45 and the S&P 500 index edged 3.96 points higher to 1,417.9.

Traders also took in a strong earnings report from Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS). Net income jumped 31 per cent from a year ago to $1.5 billion, while the bank's adjusted earnings came in at $1.21 a share, three cents better than estimates. Its shares were off a penny to $55.55 as the bank narrowly missed revenue expectations.

The TSX closed lower Thursday despite strong earnings reports from three of the other big banks. TD Bank (TSX:TD) and CIBC (TSX:CM) lost ground as adjusted earnings beat expectations but those banks also missed on revenue forecasts while National Bank (TSX:NA) matched forecasts.

The gold sector led TSX advancers Friday while February bullion gained $4 to US$1,705.80 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) climbed 28 cents to C$36.76.

Other commodities also improved in the wake of the U.S. jobs data.

The energy sector gained 0.3 per cent as oil prices shook off early losses after demand concerns helped push oil down for the previous three sessions, with the January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up 10 cents to US$86.36 a barrel. Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) gained 15 cents to C$32.63.

The Canadian Press


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