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Canadian Stocks Regain Ground After Initial Pullback

Following a sharp pullback at the start of trading, Canadian stocks have regained ground over the course of the session on Friday.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index has climbed well off its early lows but remains down 54.96 points or 0.3 percent at 20,470.49.

The index initially pulled back off yesterday's nearly six-month closing high following the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report, which showed stronger than expected U.S. job growth in the month of November.

The report said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 263,000 jobs in November after surging by an upwardly revised 284,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to shoot up by 200,000 jobs compared to the addition of 261,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent in November, unchanged from October and in line with economist estimates.

While the report points to continued strength in the labor market, the data may added to lingering uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates.

The Federal Reserve is likely to slow the pace of interest rate hikes as early as next month, but continued labor market tightness may still lead the central bank to raise rates higher than currently anticipated.

A separate report released by Statistics Canada showed Canadian employment inched up by 10,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage points to 5.1 percent.

Despite the recovery attempt by the broader market, gold stocks continue to see significant weakness amid a pullback by the price of the precious metal.

Most of the other major sectors are also seeing some weakness on the day, although energy and healthcare stocks are bucking the downtrend.

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