“A Liar Will Not Be Believed, Even When He Speaks The Truth” – Aesop

 

TSX Makes a Small Gain In Flat Markets On Friday

Canada’s main stock index ended barely higher on Friday as sharp gains for gold miners were overshadowed by a slump in shares of Toronto-Dominion Bank after a report it pressured employees to meet high sales revenue goals. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed up 9.84 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 15,506.68. The index lost 0.7 per cent on the week. Shares in TD, Canada’s No. 2 lender, fell 5.6 per cent to $66, its biggest one-day decline since December 2014. The financials group slipped 1.1 per cent, despite some of its biggest members moving higher as solid domestic jobs data broadly boosted bond yields.  Of the index’s 10 main groups, just financials and energy were in negative territory.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 44.79 points to 20,902.98, the S&P 500 index added 7.73 points to 2,372.60, and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 22.92 points to 5,861.73. The loonie gained a quarter of a cent to US74.28¢ while the April crude contract dropped by US79¢ to US$48.49 a barrel.  Crude oil resumed a sharp decline and global equity markets rose on Friday after a robust U.S. jobs report drove home the strength of the world’s biggest economy and set the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week.  Banking stocks in the euro zone hit their highest in more than a year on expectations the European Central Bank, after a meeting on Thursday, will tighten policy in March 2018.

 

Canada’s Unemployment Rate at 6.6%; Lowest In Two Years 

Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.6% last month, its lowest level in more than two years, Statistics Canada said Friday.  The decline of 0.2 percentage points from the previous month brought the rate down to a number not seen since January 2015.  The agency’s February employment survey indicated the national labour market added 15,300 jobs overall last month, higher than analyst expectations. Economists had projected a gain of 2,500 jobs and the unemployment rate to stay at 6.8%, according to Thomson Reuters. “This continues the string of improving Canadian economic data and suggests that the underlying economy continues to gain steam,” said BMO senior economist Benjamin Reitzes in a note to analysts. “One more piece of evidence that the Canadian economy has turned the corner.”

The Statistics Canada report found most of the February job gains came from full-time work, offset by a decline in the number of people working part-time.  It said an estimated 105,000 more people found full-time employment last month while part-time positions dropped by 90,000. That was in contrast to the January labour market survey, which showed a surge in part-time work.  In the 12 months to February, Canada saw a net gain of 288,000 jobs with most of the increase coming in the last six months of  22016.  Much of the increased job activity was seen in the West with British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all seeing gains. In contrast, fewer people were working in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador while employment was little changed in the other five provinces.  Women in the 25-to-54 age bracket saw more work, marking the third monthly increase in that category. Men in the same age range saw employment holding steady in February after a notable increase the previous month.

 

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Sources: Bloomberg; Investment Executive; advisor.ca;