(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks are higher Friday mid-morning, with upbeat U.S. jobs data and a slew of buoyant Canadian earnings reports lifting sentiment.
The data from the U.S. Labor Department showed that 288,000 jobs were added in April, the biggest rise in more than two years and notably higher than forecasts for an increase of 215,000 jobs. Unemployment rate declined to 6.3 percent, the lowest since September 2008.
News on the merger & acquisitions front and fairly steady crude oil and bullion prices are also contributing to the market's upmove.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index is up 47.58 points or 0.32 percent at 14,711.65, after hitting a new 6-year high at 14,734.64.
On Thursday, the index ended up 12.20 points or 0.08 percent at 14,664.07.
In corporate news, Canadian newspaper publisher Torstar Corp. (TS.B.TO) said it will sell Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, a publisher of fiction books for women, to mass media company News Corp. for C$455 million in cash, a portion of which Torstar intends to use for reducing debt. Torstar Corporation shares are up nearly 14 percent.
SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc. (SNC.TO) is up nearly 7.5 percent after it agreed to sell its subsidiary AltaLink to Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy for C$3.2 billion, or $2.9 billion. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM.TO) is climbing 6.5 percent on reporting a net profit of 63 cents per share for the first quarter, up from 14 cents per share in the previous year, and a loss of $2.61 per share in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH.TO) said that its net income was up sharply at US$784.6 million in the first quarter, compared to US$161.6 million in the previous corresponding quarter. The stock is higher by about 0.7 percent.
Gildan Activewear Inc (GIL.TO) shares are up 5.5 percent after the company reported net earnings of U.S. $0.64 per share for the second quarter, at the upper end of the guidance range it had provided earlier.
Vermilion Energy Inc (VET.TO) has reported net earnings of $1.00 per share,
up from $0.53 in the first quarter last year. The stock is up marginally.
TransCanada Corp. (TRP.TO) is up slightly. The company reported first-quarter net income attributable to shares of C$412 million or C$0.58 per share compared to C$446 million or C$0.63 per share in first quarter 2013.
Among energy stocks, Precision Drilling Corporation (PD.TO), Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. (BXE.TO), Penn West Petroleum Ltd. (PWT.TO), Petrowest Corporation (PRW.TO) and Mart Resources, Inc. (MMT.TO) are up 3 to 5 percent.
Canacol Energy Ltd. (CNE.TO), Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) and ARC Resources Ltd (ARX.TO) are up 1 to 2 percent, while Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO), Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) and Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) are modestly higher.
In the industrial sector, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP.TO), Finning International Inc. (FTT.TO), CAE Inc. (CAE.TO), MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA.TO) and WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA.TO) are up 1 to 2.5 percent.
The big six banks are little changed from their last closing levels.
In the materials space, Goldcorp Inc. (G:TO), Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO), Silver Wheaton Corp. (SLW.TO) and Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV.TO) are up 1 to 2 percent.
Among healthcare stocks, Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) is modestly higher, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX.T)) is down more than 1 percent and Catamaran Corporation (CCT.TO) is down marginally.
In commodities, crude oil futures for June delivery are up $0.45 or 0.45 percent at $99.87 a barrel.
Natural gas for June is down $0.015 or 0.31 percent at $4.705 per million btu.
Gold futures for June delivery are up $11.60 or 0.9 percent at $1,295.00 an ounce.
Silver for July is up $0.380 or 2.0 percent at $19.423 an ounce. Meanwhile, copper is up $0.041 or 1.35 percent at $3.062 per pound.
In the currency market, the Canadian loonie is trading at 1.0971 against the U.S. dollar, down 0.09 percent from previous close.
Meanwhile, the data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed factory orders to have risen 1.1 percent in March following a downwardly revised 1.5 percent increase in February.
The pace of growth, however, was slower as economists had been expecting orders to increase by about 1.5 percent in the month.
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