Toronto Stocks Remain Positive Amid Job Data

by Warren Seah

By Robb M. Stewart

Stocks in Toronto are poised to end the first week of the year on a slightly positive note, as financial shares drive gains and investors analyze the latest jobs data in Canada and the U.S.

At midday, the benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 0.3% at 20,942.96, putting it on track for a small decline of less than 0.1% for the week. The blue-chip S&P/TSX 60 is also up 0.4% at 1,266.48, setting it up for a weekly increase of 0.1%.

The major banks are all in positive territory, with Bank of Montreal leading the way with a 1% gain.

According to the latest labor force survey, employment in Canada remained largely unchanged last month despite ongoing population growth. However, the jobless rate held steady at 5.8%, and average wage growth accelerated compared to last year. In the U.S., employers added 216,000 jobs in December, maintaining an unemployment rate of 3.7%. Both countries are experiencing a slowdown in their respective labor markets.

Energy shares are also seeing gains on Friday, as oil futures rise amid increased tension in the Middle East. Canadian Natural Resources is up by 0.6%, Suncor Energy has advanced by 0.9%, and Cenovus Energy gained 1.4%.

Another notable mover in the market is Endeavour Mining, whose shares rebounded after falling sharply in the previous session due to the ousting of the gold miner’s CEO. The stock is up 3.5% to CAD 26.88 (USD 20.14), narrowing its weekly drop to 9.7%.

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