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CANADA STOCKS-TSX gains on higher oil stocks, robust employment recovery

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Oct 8 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Friday and was set to record its first weekly gain in four, as energy stocks jumped on higher oil prices, while a surge in employment numbers to pre-pandemic levels signalled a strong economic recovery.

The Canadian economy posted a massive jobs gain in September, putting inflation back to pre-pandemic levels, and the unemployment rate hit an 18-month low, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.

At 10:11 a.m. ET (14:11 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 79.97, or 0.39%, at 20,496.18.

Canada’s energy index jumped nearly 2% to its highest since May 2019 and was set to record its fourth straight weekly gains on soaring energy prices.

“I don’t think the central bank is going to move too quickly to hike rates as there is still some recovery left and with the pull back of asset purchases well seeped in, the better-than-expected employment data gives a positive outlook for equity markets,” said Mike Archibald, portfolio manager at AGF Investments.

The Canadian equity index has gained 17.4% so far this year on ecomomic recovery hopes and re-opening optimism, but the pace of gains have recently lost steam due to concerns around higher inflation which could derail global economic growth.

Data showed U.S. employment increasing far less than expected in September amid a decline in government payrolls.

Investors weigh a more uncertain outlook for the strength of the U.S. economic rebound against what the jobs growth slowdown means for the Federal Reserve’s expected announcement in November of a tapering of its asset purchases.

HIGHLIGHTS

On the TSX, 164 issues were higher, while 67 issues declined for a 2.45-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 36.50 million shares traded.

Endeavour Silver Corp, and Birchcliff Energy , were the largest percentage gainers on the TSX.

The TSX posted 11 new 52-week highs and three new lows.

Across all Canadian issues there were 51 new 52-week highs and 25 new lows, with total volume of 69.52 million shares. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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