TORONTO _ The Toronto stock market was higher Friday afternoon as traders hoped for an easing of tensiosn between Russia and Ukraine.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 73.92 points to 15,192.35, close to session highs after Russia's Interfax reportedl that Russia had ended military exercises near the Ukraine border.
The Canadian dollar dropped 0.46 of a cent to 91.11 cents US as Statistics Canada reported that the economy created a paltry 200 jobs during July. Economists had generally expected that 20,000 jobs would be created.
U.S. indexes surged on the report with the Dow industrials up 145.94 points to 16,514.21, the Nasdaq gained 30.5 points to 4,365.46 and the S&P 500 index edged up 17.14 points to 1,926.71.
Geopolitical worries have pressured stock markets for much of this past week.
The Russia/Ukraine standoff is the primary focus for investor worry as traders considered the odds of Russia invading its neighbour in order to prop up Ukrainian rebels. There is also concern about how sanctions and countersanctions could derail a still-fragile economic recovery in Europe.
``It is a primary concern and how long these sanctions stay in place will certainly determine the impact on the region, which is already very fragile, and a struggle to regain any sort of momentum over the past few quarters or so,'' said Jean-Francois Dion, portfolio advisor at RBC Dominion Securities' wealth management division.
There were still market jitters going into the weekend in Iraq, where American warplanes bombed Islamic militants.
The airstrike came after President Barack Obama on Thursday authorized U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, warning they would be launched to defend American troops and civilians under siege.
On top of this, there was a breakdown in the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Investors looking for safety had also bought into U.S. Treasuries. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond stood at 2.41 per cent mid-afternoon after going as low as 2.37 per cent during the morning, the lowest level of the year.
The energy sector led advancers, up 1.54 per cent as September crude in New York gained 20 cents to US$97.54 a barrel.
August copper was unchanged at US$3.17 a pound and the base metals sector was ahead 0.9 per cent.
Financials were the biggest decliner, down 0.3 per cent.
The TSX gold sector shed early gains as bullion prices dipped after two days of gains with the December contract in New York $1.50 lower to US$1,311 an ounce.
It has also been a heavy week for Canadian corporate earnings, which have been generally positive.
On Friday, auto parts giant Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG) says net income rose to $510 million during the quarter, equal to $2.32 per diluted share, up from $415 million, or $1.78 per diluted share, a year ago. Sales increased six per cent to a record $9.46 billion. The company also boosted its sale forecast for the year to a range of $35.6 billion to $37.3 billion from previous guidance of $34.9 billion to $36.6 billion and its shares gained $6.82 to $122.01.
Engineering consulting and construction firm SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) posted a quarterly profit of $32.1 million or 21 cents a share, down from $37.7 million or 25 cents a year ago. Adjusted earnings were 38 cents a share, well below the 63 cents that analysts had forecast and its shares fell $1.77 to $56.85.
For news about small stocks that made big moves in Friday’s trading, please read the
Stockhouse Canadian Small and Micro-cap Stock Report.