Equities in Canada’s largest centre were practically unchanged at the start of trading on Friday, weighed by materials sector as gold prices took a hit and more job cuts for the first time since April due to curbs placed to stem a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
The TSX nicked up 2.29 points to open Friday at 18,029.86.
The Canadian dollar faded 0.09 cents to 78.75 cents U.S.
RBC raised the target price on Linamar to $70.00 from $60.00.
Canaccord Genuity raised the target price on Lundin Mining to $13 from $10.50.
Among the exceptions on this flat day was Cascades Inc., which jumped $1.16, or 7.9%, to $15.93, after RBC raised its price target to $18 from $17, and Boralex, which rose $1.72, or 3.3%, to $54.12.
Silvercorp Metals fell 63 cents, or 7.4%, the most on the TSX, to $7.89. The second biggest decliner was Fortuna Silver Mines, down 73 cents, or 6.2%, to $11.13.
On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said employment fell by 63,000 (or 0.3%) in December—the first decline since April. The unemployment rate was 8.6%, little changed from 8.5% in November.
Analysts have raised their forecasts for the Canadian dollar, expecting the economy to benefit from fiscal stimulus and higher oil prices but after a 10-month rally the currency is set for a period of consolidation.
The TSX Venture Exchange slid 6.37 points, or 2%, to 915.07.
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups gained ground in the first hour, with information technology acquiring 2%, while industrials took on 1.2%, and utilities were up 0.9%.
The four laggards were weighed most by gold, tumbling 3.6%, materials off 3%, while energy backpedaled 1.1%.
Financials were unchanged in the first hour.
Stocks rose on Friday even after the release of data showing the U.S. economy unexpectedly lost jobs last month. Those gains put Wall Street on track to end the first trading week of 2021 on a high note.
The Dow Jones Industrials slid 82.55 points to 30,958.58.
The S&P 500 inched up 1.69 points to 3,805.48, to hit a fresh intraday record.
The consumer discretionary and real estate sectors each rose more than 1% to lead the S&P 500 higher.
The NASDAQ advanced 41.62 points to 13,109.09, adding to its all-time high.
Tesla shares gained more than 4%, hitting an all-time high, to power the NASDAQ higher.
The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 50,000.
The unexpected drop in employment came as the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country has forced state and local governments to re-take stricter measures to mitigate the outbreak. More than 21.5 million coronavirus cases have now been confirmed in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Prices for the 10-Year Treasury faded, raising yields to 1.10% from Thursday’s 1.08%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices gained 71 cents to $51.54 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices gave back $58.90 to $1,854.70 U.S. an ounce.