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Loonie up amid slight Canadian job growth, U.S. job creation beats expectations

Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed higher Friday as October employment missed modest expectations while U.S. job creation came in much better than expected.

The loonie was up 0.12 of a cent to 100.44 cents US as Statistics Canada reported that the economy added 1,800 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.4 per cent.

Economists had expected October's job creation would be softer than the previous two months but the numbers reported by Statistics Canada on Friday were generally weaker than anticipated.

"Overall, today’s report adds further caution to the near-term economic outlook, compounding other downbeat indicators such as slowing secondary market housing activity, and a late summer resource-related GDP contraction," said CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor.

The dollar found traction after the U.S. non-farms payrolls report showed that the economy cranked out 170,000 jobs during October, higher than the approximately 125,000 that were expected. The U.S. Labor Department also said numbers for August and September were revised upward to show an additional 84,000 jobs were created.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 per cent last month, up 0.1 of a point in September.

Oil and copper prices were lower following gains on Thursday with the December crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down $2.23 to US$84.86 a barrel while December copper was seven cents lower at US$3.48 a pound.

Gold prices headed sharply lower in the wake of the U.S. jobs data as December bullion dropped $40.30 to US$1,675.20 an ounce.