Canada Stocks Rise as Energy, Banks Climb on Improving Jobs Data

Canadian stocks rose, led by energy and financial companies, as better-than-forecast jobs data in the U.S. and Canada offset a decline in gold producers.

Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.5 percent after announcing it will co-develop the Hebron oil field off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia advanced more than 0.4 percent. Kinross Gold Corp. and Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. slipped at least 0.6 percent as gold capped the longest run of weekly losses since 2004. Lululemon Athletica Inc., the yoga apparel retailer, dropped 4.6 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG cut the stock’s rating.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 70.37 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,540.81 in Toronto. The benchmark gauge gained 1.8 percent this week.

“We’re seeing improved macroeconomic data that should lead to more optimism,” said Philip Petursson, managing director of the portfolio advisory group with Manulife Asset Management Ltd. in Toronto. His firm manages about C$235 billion ($238.2 billion). “The market is digesting the news, trying to gain a sense of direction after a few strong days.”

U.S. payrolls rose by 155,000 workers last month, ahead of economists’ expectations, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent after the November figure was revised up from a previously reported 7.7 percent.

Fed Minutes

Federal Reserve minutes released yesterday showed a divide among Fed members on how long the monthly bond purchases should last, sending the U.S. dollar higher. Gold futures dropped 0.4 percent for the week, its sixth straight weekly loss.

Kinross lost 0.6 percent to C$9.26 and Agnico-Eagle dropped 1.1 percent to C$50.39.

Canada’s unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.1 percent in December and employment rose by 39,800, according to data released by Statistics Canada today.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. gained 2.1 percent to C$30.15 and Encana Corp. increased 2.8 percent to C$20.16 as energy and financial stocks contributed most to gains in the S&P/TSX. All 10 industries in the index advanced, with trading volume 18 percent lower than the 30-day average.

TD Bank rose 0.5 percent to C$82.80 and Scotiabank increased 0.4 percent to C$57.59.

Suncor Project

Suncor advanced 0.5 percent to C$33.58. The company will work with Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Statoil ASA and Nalcor Energy Corp. to develop the Hebron oil field, 350 kilometers (218 miles) southeast of St. John’s.

The project is estimated to cost $14 billion. Suncor said it holds a 23 percent stake in the project, which is expected to produce more than 700 million barrels of crude through its lifespan.

Lululemon sank 4.6 percent to C$70.88. Christian Buss, an analyst based in New York with Credit Suisse, cut his rating for the company to neutral from outperform and trimmed the share-price target to $80 from $86. The retailer will struggle to increase sales at existing stores and discounts are higher than historically seen, he said.