07/25/2013 08:51 EDT | Updated 09/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadian dollar advances against greenback, commodity prices move higher

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed higher Thursday with the greenback putting in a mixed performance against other currencies.

The commodity-sensitive loonie was up 0.49 of a cent to 97.43 cents US amid rising prices for oil and metals.

The September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up a dime to US$105.49. That followed a slide of almost $2 Wednesday as traders weighed weak Chinese manufacturing data against a slightly bigger than expected drop in U.S. crude inventories.

But prices were off the worst levels of the session as durable goods orders for June surged 4.2 per cent, after running up 3.7 per cent in May. The showing was far ahead of economist expectations for a 1.1 per cent rise. However, the strong gain in June was driven completely by the transportation sector. Excluding the sector, orders were flat for the month.

The September copper contract was up a penny at US$3.19 a pound, while the August gold bullion contract ran up $9.30 to US$1,328.80 an ounce.

Elsewhere on the economic front, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000. The increase follows a drop of 22,000 the previous week. But the broader trend is consistent with an improving job market.