TORONTO - North American markets opened with mixed results Friday, buoyed by strong world markets and a rising U.S. dollar but slightly disappointing Canadian jobs data.
The Dow Jones industrial index was also down, off 10.16 points to 15,072.46, while the Nasdaq climbed 7.75 points to 3,416.92 and the S
Statistics Canada reported job gains of 12,500 in April, slightly missing expectations. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.2 per cent, in line with what was predicted.
The small pickup last month helped take the sting out of March's massive 54,500 contraction. However, it was not enough to put job creation on the positive side of the ledger for 2013 as a whole.
The report was better in the details, as there were 36,000 full-time workers added in the month, although most of those were in the public sector. The month saw a loss of 23,600 part-time jobs.
Analysts had expected Statistics Canada to announce an increase of 15,000 jobs after it reported a loss of 54,500 jobs in March.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.55 of a cent to 98.71 US.
In corporate news, shares in automobile parts manufacturing giant Magna International shot up nearly five per cent after it reported an increase in first-quarter net earnings and revenue despite a meagre increase in vehicle production in North America and a downturn in Europe.
Ontario-based Magna said net profits attributable to shareholders rose to US$369 million or $1.57 per diluted share, up from US$343 million or $1.46 per share. Revenue improved to US$8.36 billion, up from US$7.67 billion. Its stock was up $3.08 at $66.29.
The operator of Canada's major stock exchanges, TMX Group Limited (TSX:X), reported a first-quarter net profit of $37.8 million or 70 cents per share as it brought in revenues of $172.2 million in the three months ended March 31. In the same 2012 period, the TMX lost $4.4 million, but the results were not comparable because of a change in ownership late last year and other changes. Traders reacted by driving down its shares by 2.72 per cent, or $1.44, to $51.50.
In the U.S., investors are likely to watch a speech by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke who may comment on the record highs seen recently by the Dow Jones and the S
G7 finance ministers and central bankers were also beginning a two-day meeting Friday in the U.K., which Bernanke is not expected to attend.
Japanese stocks enjoyed another big advance after the U.S. dollar finally broke through the 100 yen mark following several failed attempts. Markets elsewhere retained their positive momentum that's seen many of them strike all-time highs. The yen will likely be a topic of discussion at the G7 finance meeting.
The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo jumped 2.9 per cent to close at 14,607.54, its highest level since January 2008, after the dollar traded above 100 yen for the first time in more than four years. A lower currency potentially makes the country's exports cheaper. By late morning London time, the dollar was 0.7 per cent higher at 101.36 yen.
European stocks continued their strong run, with Britain's FTSE 100 up 0.6 per cent at 6,634. Germany's DAX rose 0.9 per cent to 8,334 while France's CAC-40 France's advanced 0.8 per cent to 3,958.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's Kospi plummeted 1.8 per cent to 1,944.75 amid jitters over competition with Japan, whose weakened currency puts South Korean exporters at a disadvantage. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5 per cent to 23,321.22.
Meanwhile, commodities continued their retreat. The June crude contract declined $1.94 cents to US$95.45 a barrel. June gold bullion dropped $35.10 to US$1,433.50 an ounce and July copper was up a penny to US$3.35 a pound.