Canada's stock market inched higher on Friday, as worries about the "fiscal cliff" paired with positive job data from both the United States and Canada brought mixed reactions in the market.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 8.46 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,159.59, while the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index subtracted 0.64 point, or 0.05 percent, to 1,186.06.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday a drop in unemployment rate to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest in four years. Meanwhile the economy added 146,000 news jobs, significantly higher than the 85,000 jobs economists had expected.
However, other reports in the country showed a decline in consumer confidence due to the so-called "fiscal cliff," which might throw the country back into a recession if substantial tax increases and spending cuts are both triggered.
The banking sector lowered on Friday. Although Canada's third largest bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, reported a better-than-expected hike in net income by 31 percent from last year, to 1.5 billion Canadian dollars, the company's shares fell by 0.05 percent to 55.530 Canadian dollars per share.
The country's second largest bank, TD Bank, dropped for the second consecutive day by 0.94 percent to 80.36 Canadian dollars a share.
Gold issues advanced throughout the day, with Barrick Gold gaining 0.45 percent to 33.27 Canadian dollars apiece. The firm's leading competitor, Goldcorp, rose 1.18 percent to 36.91 Canadian dollars a share.
The energy sector was among the most influential gainers, with pipeline operator Enbridge up 3.93 percent to 41.56 Canadian dollars per share. Oil and gas producer Crescent Point Energy climbed 0.83 percent to 36.47 Canadian dollars per share. Imperial Oil, however, decreased by 1.81 percent to 42.75 Canadian dollars a share.
In mining, Teck Resources lost 1.14 percent to 34.60 Canadian dollars apiece. Lundin Mining fell by 4.57 percent to 5.01 Canadian dollars a share. First Quantum Minerals shed 1.04 percent to 19.99 Canadian dollars per share.
Among commodities, crude oil lowered to 86.02 U.S. dollars a barrel. Gold was up to 1,705.30 U.S. dollars an ounce, while copper rose to 3.668 U.S. dollars a pound.
In corporate news, the European Commission has given China National Offshore Oil Co. the green light for its 15.1-billion-U.S.-dollar bid to acquire Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen Inc. The approval was required by the EU Merger Regulation, since both companies have operations in the North Sea.
In Canada, the government also announced Friday the approval of the takeover of Nexen by the Chinese oil giant following prolonged review. Nexen shares plummeted by 6.35 percent to 23.29 Canadian dollars apiece on Friday.
Elsewhere, China's Ministry of Commerce has approved the 6.1-billion-Canadian-dollar takeover of Canada's agri-product retailer and grain-handler Viterra Inc. by Swiss commodity trader Glencore International. The decision is the final regulatory step necessary for Glencore to purchase Viterra. Viterra shares were up 2.21 percent to 16.20 Canadian dollars per share.
On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported Friday that the country's unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent. The private sector pumped out 59,000 new jobs in November, the result of an increase in full-time work.
In currency, the Canadian dollar rose to 1.0091 U.S. dollar on Friday at closing (2200 GMT), compared with 1.0090 U.S. dollar on Thursday.