TSX little changed amid solid Canadian jobs growth, disappointing U.S. jobs data

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market was little changed Friday as Canadian employment during January breezed past expectations and traders put the best face on American jobs data that widely missed forecasts.

The S

The Canadian dollar jumped 0.44 of a cent to 90.77 cents US on the data.

U.S. markets also started to weaken by mid-morning as the U.S. Labor Department reported that 113,000 jobs were created in January against the approximately 180,000 that had been expected.

Still, the unemployment rate moved down to 6.6 per cent from 6.7 per cent, the lowest since October 2008, even as labour force participation increased by 0.2 per cent.

The Dow Jones industrials were 2.12 points lower to 15,626.41, the Nasdaq moved up 13.34 points to 4,070.47 while the S

The weak U.S. jobs performance last month followed a meagre gain of 74,000 American jobs during December that was largely blamed on the weather. Some analysts suggested that markets were willing to let fierce winter weather that continued into January take some of the blame for a second weak month of job creation.

The January U.S. employment report has been seen as especially key as markets have seen much volatility in recent weeks on worries about indications of slowing manufacturing in China and the U.S.

Emerging economies have also been a worry because markets in those countries have been hit by the Federal Reserve's program of cutting back on its key stimulus measure of massive bond buying. That move had kept long long-term rates and encouraged a flood of cheap money into emerging markets.

But the Fed has moved twice in the past two months to cut back on those asset purchases and the markets now have to deal with an outflow of funds.

Much TSX strength came from the gold sector, which rose 1.5 per cent while April bullion gained $5.60 to US$1,262.80 an ounce.

The energy sector led decliners, down 0.8 per cent as March crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange was 29 cents higher to US$98.13 a barrel.

Baytex Energy (TSX:BTE) was a major weight after it said Thursday that it is expanding into the lucrative Eagle Ford oil shale development in Texas through a $2.6-billion acquisition of Aurora Oil

Industrials also turned negative, down 0.5 per cent.

The base metals component was slightly lower as March copper moved ahead one cent to US$3.24 a pound.

In other corporate news, LinkedIn shares fell about nine per cent after the online professional networking service delivered earnings ex-items of 39 cents per share, a penny above estimates. But it also indicated its performance will weaken this year as management ramps up spending while revenue growth slows.