(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks made a late rally to settle marginally higher Friday, led mostly by resource stocks on some upbeat macroeconomic data from the U.S. and China, the world's largest two economies. Nonetheless, the index was lower for most of the day, but just about finishing in positive territory towards the close.
Employment in the U.S. increased much more than anticipated in February, a Labor Department release showed Friday, with the job growth pushing the unemployment rate down to a four-year low. Meanwhile, the Canadian economy generated a significant job growth in February, although the unemployment rate remained flat.
Chinese export growth exceeded economists' forecast, while imports disappointed with numbers below expectations, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Friday at 12,835.61, up 9.09 points or 0.07 percent. The index touched an intraday high of 12,843.71 and a low of 12,795.34.
The Global Gold Index edged up 0.12 percent, with gold futures for April delivery moving up $1.80 or 0.1 percent to close at $1,576.90 an ounce Friday on the Nymex.
Among gold stocks, Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) gained 1.25 percent, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) lost 0.43 percent. Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO) jumped 5.47 percent, while Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) inched up 0.14 percent. Eldorado Gold Corp. (ELD.TO) slipped 0.61 percent.
The Capped Materials Index gained 0.75 percent, with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.(POT.TO) gaining 1.32 percent.
The Diversified Metals & Mining Index gained 1.57 percent, with First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) surging 6.19 percent, Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN.TO) moving up 1.20 percent, and Osisko Mining Corp. (OSK.TO) gaining 0.51 percent. Lundin Mining Corp.(LUN.TO) shed 0.21 percent, while Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) slipped 0.10 percent.
The Energy Index moved up 0.07 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for April delivery gaining $0.39 or 0.4 percent to close at $91.95 a barrel Friday on the Nymex.
Among energy stocks, Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.TO) slipped 0.51 percent, Talisman Energy Inc.(TLM.TO) dropped 0.56 percent, and Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) moved up 1.58 percent. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) dropped 0.12 percent.
The Financial Index shed 0.20 percent, with Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) down 0.12 percent, Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) up 0.65 percent, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) dropping 0.08 percent. Royal Bank (RY.TO) slipped 0.40 percent, Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce (CM.TO) dropped 0.58 percent, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was down 0.29 percent.
The Information Technology Index dropped 1.05 percent, with BlackBerry Inc. (BB.TO) dropping 1.03 percent.
The Capped Industrials Index fell 0.57 percent, although Bombardier Inc. (BBD.A.TO, BBD.B.TO) gained a near 3 percent.
Petroleum and natural gas company Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) shed 0.68 percent after indicating it has been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange and expects to open for trading on Tuesday, March 12.
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC.TO) plummeted 6.19 percent with profit for the fourth quarter and full year 2013 guidance falling short of estimates.
Semiconductor maker JDS Uniphase (JDU.TO) moved up 1.28 percent after announcing the acquisition of Location-Aware Mobility Solutions Provider Arieso for $85 million in cash.
Motor and generator maker Hydrogenics Corp.(HYG.TO) gained 1.63 percent, despite reporting that its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $3.05 million or $0.42 per share, from $1.44 million or $0.18 per share last year.
Patheon Inc. (PTI.TO) surged 4.40 percent, despite reporting that its first-quarter net loss widened to $51.4 million or $0.384 per share from $19.4 million or $0.150 per share last year.
In economic news, Statistics Canada said the economy generated 51,000 jobs in February, following a slight decline the previous month, with the increase spread between full- and part-time work. Economists expected only 8000 job additions in February. However, the unemployment rate remained at 7.0 percent as more people participated in the labor force.
In economic news from the U.S., the Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 236,000 jobs in February following a downwardly revised increase of 119,000 jobs in January. Economists expected employment to increase by about 171,000 jobs compared to the addition of 157,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
The Labor Department also said unemployment rate dipped to 7.7 percent in February from 7.9 percent in January, falling to its lowest level since December of 2008.
Wholesale inventories in the U.S. increased much more than expected in January, a Commerce Department report showed, although wholesale sales dropped notably. Wholesale inventories surged 1.2 percent in January after rising by a revised 0.1 percent in December. Economists expected inventories to increase by about 0.4 percent compared to the 0.1 percent drop originally reported for the previous month. The increase was attributed in part to a 1.1 percent increase in durable goods inventories.
Elsewhere, Germany's industrial output remained flat in January from a month ago, when it was up 0.6 percent, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology said. Industrial output was forecast to grow by 0.4 percent. On a yearly basis, industrial production slipped by working-day adjusted 1.3 percent, sharper than the 0.5 percent fall recorded the previous month. The rate of decrease slightly exceeded a 1.2 percent drop forecast by economists.
A General Administration of Customs report showed Chinese export growth rose 21.8 percent year-on-year in February, much faster than the expected 8.1 percent increase. Nevertheless, this compares poorly with January's 25 percent growth. Imports declined more than expected during the month, falling 15.2 percent year-on-year. Economists expected a 8.5 percent drop. In January, imports grew 28.8 percent.
China's trade balance was a surplus of $15.25 billion in February, contrary to expectations for a deficit of $6.9 billion. In January, the surplus was $29.15 billion.
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