Friday, January 18, 2013 10:8 AM EST Positive start for markets Bombardier, TransCanada in focus Stock markets in Toronto opened higher on Friday after better-than-expected Chinese GDP data eased concerns of a sharp slowdown in the world's second largest economy and lifted investor sentiment. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 35.75 points to begin Friday at 12,710.48 The Canadian dollar dived 0.59 cents to 100.87 cents U.S. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall joined 10 U.S. state governors in urging U.S. President Barack Obama to approve TransCanada Corp's contentious and long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline, citing energy-security benefits in both countries. TransCanada stock hiked 44 cents to $49.02 Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd has placed firm orders for three of Bombardier Inc.’s Q400 NextGen turboprop airplanes. Bombardier shares –picked up a penny to $4.09 Among tech stocks, Research In Motion leaped 59 cents, or 4%, to $15.27 in early trading. On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported this morning that manufacturing sales hiked 1.7% in November to $49.9 billion, a peak that figure hasn’t seen since last May. Sales rose in 12 of 21 industries, representing about two-thirds of the manufacturing sector in this country. What’s more, StatsCan reported that the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in November edged down 4,500, or 0.8%, to 528,000, after little change in October. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange tacked on 6.15 points to 1,239.30 All 14 Toronto subgroups were on the upside to begin Friday, led by information technology, up 0.9%, while global base metals gained 0.8% and the metals and mining group advanced 0.6%. ON WALLSTREET U.S. stocks opened little changed Friday as investors digested a mixed bag of corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained but 13.25 points to open Friday at 13,609.30 The S&P 500 lopped off 1.37 points to 1,479.57. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 5.86 points to 3,130.15. A 6% drop in shares of Intel dragged on the Dow, a day after the chip maker reported that quarterly profits fell 27% from a year earlier. Capital One was the biggest loser on the S&P 500 as shares fell more than 7% as the credit card lender and bank reported earnings that fell short of forecasts. On the flip side, General Electric rose almost 3% after the conglomerate issued an upbeat outlook and reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue. GE was the biggest gainer on the Dow. Morgan Stanley was also a big winner, with shares rising 6% after the bank reported earnings that narrowly beat expectations. It's been a mixed bag for earnings this week. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs issued strong reports, while investors were disappointed by Citigroup and Bank of America Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.8% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P's Capital IQ. AT&T shares were down slightly in early trading following the company's announcement that it will take a charge of $10 billion U.S. in the fourth quarter related to its pension plan. Economically speaking, the University of Michigan was to release its consumer sentiment index at 10 a.m. ET. Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note sank, raising yields to 1.88% from Thursday’s 1.88%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices subtracted nine cents to $95.40 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices added two dollars to $1,692.70 U.S. an ounce.