The Canadian stock market made modest gains on Friday, following better employment numbers in both Canada and the U.S.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 70.37 points, or 0.56 percent, to 12,540.81, while the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index rose 2.05 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,228.22.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday of an added 155,000 jobs in the country's workforce last month, well within economists' expectations. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 7.8 percent.
In Canada's domestic economic front, Canada's unemployment rate fell to a four-year low last month from 7.2 percent to 7.1 percent, with 40,000 added new jobs in the private sector, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Economists had only anticipated 5,000 new jobs in December and were surprised by the strong performance in the market. Overall, Canada's economy has added 187,300 new jobs throughout the course of the last five months.
All of the eight sectors on the Canadian stock market's main index went higher in awake of the positive job data.
Energy sector, which makes up about 25 percent of the main index, advanced 1.07 percent. Canadian Natural Resources shares climbed 2.06 percent to 30.15 Canadian dollars apiece. Imperial Oil gained 1.46 percent to 43.05 Canadian dollars per share. Suncor Energy increased by 0.45 percent to 33.58 Canadian dollars a share.
Another heavyweight sector metals and mining rose 0.74 percent. Potash Corp. was up by 1.33 percent to 41.03 Canadian dollars a share. Teck Resources added 0.95 percent to 37.28 Canadian dollars per share. First Quantum Minerals lost 0.18 percent to 21.87 Canadian dollars apiece.
In financial sector, Royal Bank of Canada gained 0.61 percent to 61.07 Canadian dollars per share. The country's second largest bank, TD Bank, rose 0.52 percent to 82.80 Canadian dollars a share. Insurer Manulife Financial Corp. increased by 0.57 percent to 14. 02 Canadian dollars apiece.
Among gold stocks, Barrick Gold Corp. increased by 0.18 percent to 34.14 Canadian dollars a share. The company's main competitor Goldcorp was up 0.26 percent to 35.31 Canadian dollars per share. Meanwhile, miners Kinross Gold Corp. and Allied Nevada Gold Corp. fell by 0.64 percent to 9.26 Canadian dollars apiece, and lowered by 2.56 percent to 27.46 Canadian dollars per share, respectively.
In corporate news, Exxon Mobil Corp. announced Friday that it is proceeding with the 14-billion Canadian dollars Hebron oil project off the coast of the north Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The company expects to have more than 3,000 employees on the project by the end of 2014, with first oil produced by the end of 2017. On Friday, Exxon Mobil shares went up 0.46 percent to 88.96 U.S. dollars a share.
At closing, the Canadian dollar strengthened to 1.0135 U.S. dollars at 5 p.m. local time (2200 GMT), compared with 1.0122 U.S. dollars on Thursday.