Stocks nearly flat after US jobs data

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The Toronto stock market moved up slightly in early trading Wednesday as data on U.S. private sector jobs mildly outdid expectations.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 16.34 points to 12,407.57, while the TSX Venture Exchange was off 0.06 of a point to 1,331.72.Payroll processor ADP reported that companies added 162,000 jobs last month, slightly better than consensus expectations, but down from August. The data indicated that growth isn’t picking up momentum.The Canadian dollar fell 0.33 of a cent to 101.27 cents US.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials were up 6.76 points to 13,489.12. The Nasdaq composite index advanced 11.18 points to 3,131.22, while the S&P 500 index gained 2.57 points to 1,448.32.Meanwhile a report from Royal LePage showed that the average price of a resale home in Canada rose between 1.8 and 4.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. The cost of an average two-storey home in Canada increased four per cent to $403,747, while detached bungalows rose 4.8 per cent to $366,773.Also due Wednesday morning is a services sector survey from the Institute for Supply Management. A surprisingly strong manufacturing report earlier this week helped shore up markets.The TSX energy sector was the lone decliner, dropping 0.2 per cent as November crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange moved down $1.46 to US$90.43 a barrel.December gold bullion rose $3.40 to US$1,779 an ounce, while December copper was down 2.4 cents at US$3.78 a pound.Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B) says it is taking advantage of low interest rates to buy back a substantial interest in its operating arm from the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec in a transaction valued at $1.5 billion.Under the deal, which involves the buyback of some 30.5 million shares, the Caisse’s interest in Quebecor Media Inc. is being reduced to 24.6 per cent from 45.3 per cent. Shares of Quebecor were up 24 cents to $33.50.Spain’s prime minister indicated his cash-strapped country would not request an imminent bailout despite reports Tuesday that suggested otherwise.Madrid is under pressure to ask for financial assistance from the European Central Bank to keep a lid on its borrowing costs but the government has been reluctant to do so because it may come with conditions on its budget policies. Germany is also pushing Spain to delay such a move because it is wary of presenting yet another rescue plan for a vote in parliament.In Europe, a survey of the continent’s services sector showed weakness in the key economies of Germany and France and sharp downturns in financially weakened countries like Spain.In London, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.3 per cent at 5,827 while Germany’s DAX was up 0.4 per cent at 7,332. The CAC-40 in France was up 0.05 per cent at 3,415.Earlier, trading was lacklustre in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5 per cent to close at 8,746.87 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng see-sawed until closing 0.2 per cent higher at 20,888.28.Markets in mainland China and South Korea were closed for public holidays.

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