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
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.