Energy Shares Drive TSX to 7-Mo. Highs

Kelt, Aurora Cannabis in Focus

Canada's main stock index rose for the fifth straight session on Friday as energy stocks gained and a rebound in U.S. jobs growth in March eased slowdown concerns in the world's largest economy.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index grew 61.68 points to greet noon at 16,373.29.

The index was at its highest since August 31 and was on course for its best weekly gain since mid-January.

The Canadian dollar slumped 0.15 cents at 74.68 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Kelt Exploration, which jumped 16 cents, or 3%, to $5.44, and Aurora Cannabis, which rose 26 cents, or 2.2%, to $12.21, after the company was awarded maximum number of lots in cannabis production tender in Germany.

Turquoise Hill Resources fell 11 cents, or 4.5%, the most on the TSX, to $2.25. The second biggest decliner was Fortuna Silver Mines Inc, down a nickel, or 1.1%, to $4.53.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said employment fell by 7,200 in March, mostly full-time positions in the services sector. Economists had forecast employers would add 6,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.8%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 0.03 points to 626.16

All but three of the 12 Toronto subgroups faced the noon hour ahead with energy gushing 2%, health-care haler by 1.1%, and consumer discretionary stocks up 0.5%.

The three laggards were communications, down 0.3%, gold, down 0.2%, and materials, sinking 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Friday after a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report assuaged fears that the economy was slowing down, lifting investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average approached noon up 23.13 points Friday to 26,407.76, led by Walgreens Boots Alliance and Pfizer.

The S&P 500 gained 10.52 points at 2,889.86, as the energy and consumer discretionary sectors outperformed.

The NASDAQ Composite recovered 39.1 points to 7,930.86

Shares of Boston Beer fell 4% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company's stock to sell from neutral, citing worries over slower sales growth.

Those gains come as investors brace themselves for the upcoming earnings season, which is set to start next week with J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo among the companies set to report.

The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 175,000. However, wage growth expanded 3.2%, below an expected gain of 3.4%.

Wall Street was looking forward to this report after the previous jobs data showed growth of just 20,000. That number was revised higher to 33,000 on Friday.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury inched up, lowering yields to 2.5% from Thursday’s 2.51%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 59 cents to $62.69 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $1.50 to $1,295.80 U.S. an ounce.