Toronto stocks are slightly lower in Friday morning trading. Strength in the technology sector, led by Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO), has almost offset declines in most of the other sectors.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index has dropped 26.45 points or 0.29% to move at 9,046.69. The index finished higher in each of the last three sessions.
The Technology Index is up 5.8%. Research in Motion stock has soared 19.7% after the company reported net income for the fourth quarter of $518.3 million or $0.90 per share, compared to $412.5 million or $0.72 per share for the year-ago quarter.
Gold stocks are down 2.8% and materials stocks have lost 1.3% with the precious metal moving lower again on the Comex. Iamgold (IMG.TO) has surged 3%, Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) has rallied 2.5% and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) is up 2.2%.
Financials are down 0.8%, with Scotiabank (BNS.TO) leading the decliners with a 1.8% drop.
In other economic news, Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) is down 3.2% after the company said it will sell 80 million of its common shares to a syndicate of underwriters led by GMP Securities for gross proceeds of $164 million.
West Fraser (WFT.TO) has lost 1.9% after the company announced additional curtailments of lumber production at its U.S. operations. Production will be curtailed for two weeks beginning April 6 at mills in Arkansas and Florida.
AbitibiBowater (ABH.TO) is up 12.2% after the company said it may receive least $50 million of additional funding from Steelhead Partners and Fairfax Financial Holdings ( FFH.TO).
Cascades (CAS.TO) has slipped 1.25% after the company said that Norampac, a division of Cascades Canada Inc., will terminate production activities at its Quebec city based corrugated products plant, due to considerable reduction in business volume and unfavorable economic factors. Nearly 145 employees will be affected by this closure that will be effective before the end of 2009.
Across the border, a Labor Department report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 663,000 jobs in March following an unrevised decrease of 651,000 jobs in February. The drop in jobs came roughly in line with economists' expectations of a decrease of 658,000 levels.
With the continued decrease in jobs, the unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent in March from 8.1 percent in the previous month, in line with expectations. With the increase, the unemployment rate rose to its highest level since November of 1983.
Thursday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index surged 131.32 or 1.46% to 9,073.14. This marked the best finish for the index since Jan. 9.
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