TSX ends week down after lacklustre job numbers

The Toronto stock market was slightly lower in early trading Friday as jobs reports in both Canada and the United States came in better than anticipated, although neither blew by expectations.

U.S. markets rise after stronger than expected job growth reported in June

The Toronto stock market was slightly lower stumbled Friday as jobs reports in both Canada and the United States came in better than anticipated, although neither blew by expectations.

The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 31.75 points to close at 12,134.91.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.52 of a cent to 94.53 cents US.

Statistics Canada says the official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1 per cent last month as employers pulled back after a wild month of hiring in May.

The agency said the economy shed a mere 400 jobs in June, a statistically insignificant number. But it was better than the 10,000 or more jobs economists had expected would be lost in the hangover from the hiring binge seen in May, when 95,000 new jobs were added.

The loonie was down 0.42 of a cent to 94.63 cents US, as jobs data from Canada beat expectations but was widely underwhelming.

U.S. job numbers send Wall Street higher

The U.S. Labor Department said employers added 195,000 jobs in June and hiring was more robust in the two previous months than earlier estimated, suggesting job growth is accelerating.

The Dow Jones industrials moved 147.29 points higher to 15,135.84, the Nasdaq gained 35.71 points to 3,479.38 and the S&P 500 index ticked up 16.48 points to 1,631.89.

In commodities, August gold bullion dropped $39.20 to US$1,212.70 an ounce on the Nymex, while the August crude contract closed ahead $1.98 at US$103.22.

Also, Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX:L) began listing its new real estate investment trust today on the TSX. Choice Properties REIT (TSX:CHP.UN) will hold 415 retail properties, one office complex and nine warehouse properties totalling 35.3 million square feet of gross leasable area.

Choice Properties ended the day unchanged at $10.00, while Loblaw shares were down 73 cents to $46.75.

Dax falls 1.4%

In Asia, markets were catching up with the gains in Europe the day before. The rally was triggered by the European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's statement that interest rates will remain low "for an extended period of time."

The ECB statement was echoed by the Bank of England and followed indications that the U.S. economy is growing — but probably not fast enough for the U.S. Federal Reserve to rush into tapering off its stimulus program. Markets had been spooked in recent weeks at the prospect of such stimulus ending.

In European trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.72 per cent to 6,375 after jumping three per cent the day before. Germany's DAX, however, tumbled down 2.4 per cent to 7,806 while France's CAC 40 slipped 1.5 per cent to 3,753.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 2.1 per cent to 14,309.97 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.9 per cent to 20,854.67

Elsewhere in Asia, Taipei's TAIEX jumped 1.4 per cent to 8,001.82 while Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 edged up one per cent to 4,841.70 and China's Shanghai Composite posted a small gain of 0.1 per cent to 2,007.29.

With files from The Associated Press