Canada Stocks Closes Up 70 Pts At Session Highs; Manulife, Crescent Point Lead Gainers

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Canada's main stock market, the Toronto Stock Exchange, recovered from a bad start - it opened 35 points below the previous close - but battled hard to end Friday's session around 70 points higher on some bargain buying, and hopes that today's better than expected employment numbers will attract more investment to these shores as they augur well for the Canadian economy.

Individual stocks like Manulife (MFC.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) appeared at the top of the most active list for the first time in a while, suggesting that many investors and traders were selective in their buying.

MFC hit year highs after announcing that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Benesure Canada Inc., a third party administrator and distributor of life and disability insurance solutions to the mortgage broker marketplace. With the announcement of this transaction, Manulife Affinity Markets becomes Canada's largest provider of mortgage insurance solutions for mortgage brokers, with revenue premiums in excess of $65 million from more than 170,000 Benesure Canada Inc. clients.

Employment rose by 39,800 in December, the fourth increase in five months, Statistics Canada said Friday. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1% to 7.1%, the lowest in four years.

Oil futures finished with a slight gain Friday, finding support from a hefty drop in last week's U.S. crude supplies, MarketWatch reported. February crude oil rose 17 cents to settle at US$93.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, crude was up 2.5%.

Gold futures finished with a loss on Friday, as the possibility that the Federal Reserve could end its bond-buying run this year helped buoy the U.S. dollar, MarketWatch reported. February gold settled at US$1,648.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $25.70, or 1.5%. Futures prices lost 0.4% for the holiday-shortened week.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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