Update: TSX Adds 88 Points as Commodity Prices Increase Across the Board, Including a 9% Weekly Rise in Oil and a 4% Escalation in Gold

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Canada's main stock market ended the week on a positive note, with its seventh straight winning session, as commodity prices advanced across the board. The S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 88 points Friday, or 0.7% to close at 13,212.

Energy was the main advancer, sector wise, with a 3% gain. Materials added 0.2% while financials were up 0.5%. On the negative side, techs lost 2%.

In stock news, Endeavour Mining (EDV.TO) shares slumped 11% after announcing a friendly takeover of True Gold Mining in an all-share deal that values True Gold at about $240 million. Endeavour would acquire a 90% interest in the Karma mine in Burkina Faso that is expected to pour its first gold within weeks. Cara Operations (CAO.TO) jumped nearly 6% after the restaurant owner swung to a fourth quarter profit as system sales increased on the opening of new restaurants and the acquisition of New York Fries.

Heavily traded Encana (ECA.TO) was up 11% while First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) grew 5% on stronger base metals prices. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO), the day's most influential stock, fell 6%.

In economic news, Statistics Canada said a strong gain in export volumes boosted Canada's merchandise trade deficit in January. Statscan said the trade deficit increased to $655 million compared with $631 million in December, beating estimates of as much as $900 million. The increase came as imports rose 1.1% in January.

U.S. jobs were better-than-expected though there were questions about the quality of those jobs. U.S. employers added a robust 242,000 workers in February and the unemployment rate remained at a low 4.9%. The Canadian dollar gained nearly half-a-cent to 75.02 US.

On the oil market, futures ended sharply higher Friday, with the U.S. benchmark posting a weekly gain of around 9.6% as traders turned their focus from a global glut to signs of slowing U.S. production amid continued hopes major producers will discuss a potential output freeze, MarketWatch reported.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.35, or 3.9%, to settle at $35.92 a barrel, maintaining gains after data showed the number of active U.S. oil rigs fell for an eleventh straight week. May Brent crude added $1.65, or 4.5%, to finish at $38.72 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. That marked the highest finish since Dec. 10 and a weekly advance of 9.3%.

Gold jumped on Friday, trading around a more than one-year high Friday after February jobs data offered a picture of the labour market that was healthy but not strong enough to shift expectations of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, said MarketWatch. April gold settled up $12.50, or 1%, to $1,270.70 an ounce. The metal registered a weekly advance of about 4%. Silver and copper both gained nearly 3%.

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

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