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CANADA: Loonie hits nearly 81 cents US on bullish jobs data, Toronto stock index down

Posted on 06 January 2018 by admin

The Canadian dollar surged to its highest level in more than three months after the country's jobless rate hit a four-decade low, as the Toronto stock index fell.

The loonie closed at an average trading value of 80.63 cents US, up 0.73 of a U.S. cent on Friday — its highest level since Sept. 26.

The currency's move higher came in the wake of a report by Statistics Canada that the economy created 78,600 net new jobs in December and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in more than 40 years.

On Bay Street, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 63.50 points to 16,349.44 after setting record closes in the last two trading sessions.

"Today seems to be one of these days where the reflationary, more pro-cyclical sectors are sort of taking a pause after a strong run into the end of the year and the start of the year — namely energy and materials," said Patrick Blais, a managing director and senior portfolio manager at Manulife Investments.

South of the border it was another record finish on Wall Street, as technology companies rose sharply.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 220.74 points to 25,295.87. The S&P 500 index added 19.16 points to 2,743.15 and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 58.65 points to 7,136.56.

U.S. stocks rose for the fourth day in a row Friday to start 2018 with their longest new-year winning streak in eight years.

Less promising, however, were U.S. Labor Department figures which showed that American employers added 148,000 jobs in December — a solid gain but a bit less than experts expected.

On the Canadian corporate front, shares of Telus Corp. were down 15 cents, or 0.32 per cent, to $47.13 at the close of markets. The communication services company is buying the western operations of AlarmForce Industries from Bell Canada.

Telus will pay about $66.5 million to acquire about 39,000 customer accounts in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan — representing nearly 40 per cent of the total AlarmForce customer base in Canada.

In commodities, the February crude contract was down 57 cents to $61.44 US per barrel and the February natural gas contract fell nine cents to $2.80 US per mmBTU.

The February gold contract gained 70 cents at $1,322.30 US an ounce and the March copper contract was down three cents to $3.23 US a pound.

© The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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