Canada's main stock market in Toronto soared to hit nearly seven-month high Friday after the country's statistics agency reported upbeat job data amid the turbulent oil prices.
Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 62.12 points, or 0.41 percent, to 15,388.43 points, the highest settlement after Sept. 18 2014 when the index closed at 15,465.54 points.
Seven of the eight major sectors were in the rising streak, led by the healthcare sector with an increase of 2.16 percent.
Although the oil patch has been heavily weighed by the sluggish crude market, and many companies are conducting heavy layoffs in Canada, the midday trading of the Toronto equity market was boosted by the upbeat labor market data when Statistics Canada reported Friday morning that the employment increased by 29,000 in March, driven by gains in part-time jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.8 percent.
Healthcare sector shares jumped for a third straight trading day with an increase of more than 2 percent, as Catamaran Corp. rose 0.50 percent to 75.01 Canadian dollars (about 59.63 U.S. dollars), and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. moved ahead 0.80 percent to 261.09 Canadian dollars.
Info Tech rallied 1.12 percent when Constellation Software Inc. advanced 2.21 percent to 497.74 Canadian dollars per share.
Energy sector increased 0.70 percent while May crude contract advanced 85 U.S. cents to 51.64 U.S. dollars per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Suncor Energy Inc. was up 0.79 percent to 39.68 Canadian dollars and TransCanada Corp. was up 0.45 percent to 55.47 Canadian dollars.
Financials, the most weighed sector, gained 0.22 percent when Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.30 percent to 64.41 Canadian dollars.
Industrials added 0.17 percent as Bombardier Inc., Canada's largest manufacturer of planes and trains, climbed 1.54 percent to 2.64 Canadian dollars a share, and another heavyweight Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. grew 0.36 percent to 237.45 Canadian dollars a share.
The metals and mining sector, however, bucked the trend, dropping 0.20 percent, when First Quantum Minerals Ltd. fell 2.65 percent to 16.19 Canadian dollars a share and Teck Resources Ltd. lost 1.42 percent to 17.30 Canadian dollars a share.
On the currency front, the Canadian dollar on Friday traded higher at 0.7949 U.S. dollar from 0.7942 U.S. dollar Thursday, over the better-than-expected job data.