TORONTO - The Toronto stock market closed slightly higher Friday amid a disappointing reading on U.S. job creation last month.
The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 9.29 points to 12,603.25.
The U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy created 162,000 jobs during July, less than the 183,000 that markets had expected. However, the jobless rate ticked down to 7.4 per cent from 7.6 per cent.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.39 of a cent to 96.25 cents US.
U.S. indexes were higher as the data also showed sharp revisions to the previous two months. About 26,000 fewer jobs were created than originally reported.
The Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 index powered ahead to fresh record highs.
The Dow was ahead 30.34 points to 15,658.36, the Nasdaq gained 13.84 points to 3,689.59 and the S&P 500 was up 2.8 points to 1,709.67.
The jobs data raised questions about when the Federal Reserve can let up on a key stimulus measure, its monthly US$85 billion of bond purchases.
Traders have come to expect that the Fed would start to taper its bond purchases starting in September. But the Fed has been consistent in saying that such a cut in purchases would only take place if the economy showed sufficient strength.
"Just as the U.S. economy seemed to be strengthening and the consensus expectation had moved toward a September taper by the Fed, a disappointing July employment release will have observers reassessing both those views," said CIBC World Markets senior economist Andrew Grantham.
Other data showed that U.S. consumers increased their spending in June at the fastest pace in four months even though their income growth slowed. Consumer spending rose 0.5 per cent in June compared with May, when spending was up 0.2 per cent. Income growth slowed to a 0.3 per cent rise in June, weaker than May’s 0.4 per cent gain.
The base metals sector was up almost one per cent while September copper rose for a third day, ahead one cent to US$3.17 a pound and Rio Alto Mining (TSX:RIO) climbed five cents to $2.26.
Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ) jumped 40 cents or 8.7 per cent to $5 after Reuters reported that its controlling shareholder, Rio Tinto, doesn't need to seek Mongolian parliamentary approval for a US$4 billion financing package to fund an underground mine at the Oyu Tolgoi copper project.
Oyu Tolgoi is 66 per cent owned by Rio Tinto's Turquoise Hill unit, and 34-per cent owned by the Mongolian government. Turquoise Hill stock had tumbled almost 30 per cent earlier in the week after Rio Tinto said it had been advised that project financing provisionally secured for the project would need to be approved by parliament.
Financials also rose with Royal Bank (TSX:RY) ahead 49 cents to $64.43.
Power Financial Corp. (TSX:PWF) shares edged up seven cents to $32.67 as the firm said quarterly net earnings attributable to common shareholders were $475 million or 67 cents per share, compared with $429 million or 61 cents per share a year earlier.
The gold sector shed early gains to move down about 1.5 per cent while December gold closed flat, down 70 cents to US$1,310.50 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) shed 41 cents to C$27.99.
Eldorado Gold Corp. (TSX:ELD) says it's reducing its 2013 spending plans by about US$288 million in light of lower gold prices. The company also reported Friday that its second-quarter profit attributable to shareholders was $43.3 million or six cents per share, down from $46.6 million or seven cents per share a year earlier and below analyst estimates and its shares faded 10 cents to $7.66.
The industrials sector fell 0.75 per cent as engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group (TSX:SNC) posted a $37.3-million loss attributable to shareholders, or 25 cents per share in the second quarter. The engineering giant said the loss would have been even higher without the benefit of its investment income. Without $67 million of income from its Infrastructure Concession Investments, the Montreal-based company would have had a $104.7-million net loss. Its shares fell $2.62 or 6.09 per cent to $40.38.
The energy sector dipped slightly as the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved down 95 cents to US$106.94 a barrel. Athabasca Oil (TSX:ATH) fell 31 cents to $7.64.
The Toronto market ended the week with a modest loss of 45 points or 0.35 per cent following the release of a slew of earnings from corporate Canada, particularly from the resource sector. The materials sector was the biggest drag after fertilizer producers PotashCorp of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) and Agrium (TSX:AGU) racked up huge losses after Russian producer Uralkali opted to break up a powerful cartel. The move raised concerns that potash prices could fall by around 25 per cent.
"It is interesting the market has weathered not just Potash but also everything that is still going on in the gold stocks with writedowns at Barrick, operating cost issues and Kinross eliminating its dividend," said Norman Raschkowan, North American strategist at Mackenzie Financial Corp.
"The earnings that have come out were really pretty good and the market overall is feeling pretty good."