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Stock markets to start higher as US jobs come in better than expected

The former Toronto Stock Exchange home in Toronto, August 18 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market appears headed slightly higher after the open as commodity prices gain traction and a U.S. jobs report beats expectations.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.67 of a cent to 99.96 cents US.

The July labour report came in higher than expected, with total U.S. nonfarm payrolls up by 163,000, better than the 100,000 gain that was projected. The unemployment rate rose to 8.3 per cent, up 0.1 per cent.

Wall Street responded positively with the Dow Jones industrial futures up 102 points to 12,933 and the broader S&P futures adding 12.3 points at 1,374.20. Nasdaq futures are up 26 points at 2,644.50.

In commodities, the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange lifted 97 cents to US$88.10 a barrel.

September copper moved up 1.8 cents to US$3.308 a pound while August gold rose 30 cents to US$1,591 an ounce.

In corporate developments, Telus Corp. (TSX:T) reported second-quarter profits of $328 million, up 1.2 per cent from the same time last year, while earnings per share rose to $1.01 from 99 cents. Revenue at the company increased four per cent to $2.7 billion.

Fertilizer producer Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) says profits jumped 20 per cent in the second quarter as demand for its crop inputs business remained strong. The Calgary-based company reported net earnings of US$860 million or $5.44 per share for the quarter ended June 30, compared to net earnings of $718-million or $4.54 per share a year earlier. Revenue increased 10 per cent to $6.8 billion.

Investment dealer GMP Capital Inc. (TSX:GMP) posted a second-quarter loss of $4.1 million as its revenue declined seven per cent to $67.7 million due to investor caution in the current economic environment.

European markets rose slightly on Friday, picking up some of the declines from the prior session, when the European Central Bank failed to deliver on its assurances it would do "whatever it takes" to help the region out of its debt crisis.

Britain's FTSE 100 was up 1.5 per cent to 5,745, while Germany's DAX added 2.3 per cent to 6,758. France's CAC 40 climbed 2.5 per cent to 3,312.

Earlier, Asian indexes closed lower, as traders there caught up with the ECB news. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average finished down 1.1 per cent at 8,555.11, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 0.2 per cent lower to 19,652.50. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.1 per cent to 4,221.50, and South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.1 per cent to 1,848.68. The Shanghai Composite rose 1 per cent to 2,132.80.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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