Friday, February 08, 2013 00:22 PM EST TSX continues positive through noon AOL, LinkedIn impress The Toronto stock market was higher Friday and commodities rose amid better than expected trade data from China. The S&P/TSX composite index was positive 31.73 points to greet noon at 12,787.65 The Canadian dollar remained below parity with the U.S. greenback, erasing 0.43 cents to 99.80 cents U.S. Traders also took in data showing that Chinese exports rose 25% in January from a year earlier, while imports soared 28% But a large part of the increase was due to companies rushing to fill orders before shutting down for up to two weeks for the Lunar New Year holidays that begin Sunday The consumer staples component advanced with food company Saputo Inc. ahead 83 cents to $51.66. The Chinese data helped push oil prices higher, Suncor Energy advanced 28 cents to $32.51. The financials sector rose as Manulife Financial continued to find lift from a well-received earnings report released Thursday, up 24 cents to $14.79. The tech sector was also higher as CGI Group rose 47 cents to $27.57. BlackBerry shed early gains and was down 18 cents to $16.73. Still, the stock has soared from last Friday’s close of $13.01 after the smartphone maker launched its new Z10 product into the Canadian marketplace on Wednesday amid much optimism. It won’t be available in the U.S. until mid-March. In the gold sector, Goldcorp Inc. rose 16 cents to $36.22. March copper on the Nymex added four cents to $3.77 U.S. a pound. China is the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, viewed as an economic bellwether as it is used in so many applications. However, the base metals sector fell as Teck Resources was down 89 cents to $33.56, adding to a loss of about 6% Thursday amid a weak production forecast included in the miner’s latest earnings report. It was a light day for earnings reports Friday, with aerospace manufacturer Heroux-Devtek Inc. reporting $4.6 million of net income in the latest quarter, or 15 cents per share, including discontinued operations, down from $6.9 million or 23 cents per share a year earlier. Heroux-Devtek’s continuing operations generated $61.7 million in sales in the quarter, down slightly from nearly $62 million in the year-earlier quarter. Its shares shed 14 cents to $9.35. Brookfield Infrastructure is increasing its dividend by 15% to 43 cents per unit even as the Bermuda-headquartered owner of utilities, rail and timber assets reports lower net income in the fourth-quarter. Brookfield units were ahead 95 cents to $39.45. On the domestic economic sheet, Statistics Canada gave out mixed signals on the job front in January. The agency said employment decreased 21,900 (experts had projected a net job gain of 5,000), but lower numbers of those seeking work pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.0%. The nation’s number-crunchers also noted that our merchandise imports fell 2.8% in December while exports declined 0.9%. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world dipped from $1.7 billion in November to $901 million in December. Finally, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation declared that both single and multiple housing starts plunged last month, particularly in Ontario. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts came in at 160,577 units in January, down from 197,118 in December. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange decreased 0.8 points to 1,205.31 Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were positive at Friday’s noon hour. Financials, consumer staples and energy stocks were each ahead 0.5%. The five laggards were weighed down most by utilities, off 1.3%, health-care, down 1%, and the metals and mining group, lower by 0.7%. Materials were flat at noon hour. ON WALLSTREET Earnings were the centre of attention Friday, and some better-than-expected results helped pushed markets higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hiked 51.30 points – off its highs of the morning -- to break for lunch at 13,995.30 The S&P 500 index sparked 7.51 points to 1,516.90. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite remained positive 29.59 points to 3,194.72, as traders liked what they saw from AOL and LinkedIn. Markets have had a good run so far this year. The Dow and S&P 500 are both up nearly 7% and near their all-time highs, while the NASDAQ has gained nearly 6%. AOL shares surged more than 8%, after the web portal reported revenue growth for the first time in eight years. Fourth-quarter profits were in line with expectations. Shares of LinkedIn hit an all-time high, one day after the company reported a sudden rise in membership. The online network targeted to professionals handily beat earnings and revenue estimates for the fourth quarter. Apple continued to move higher after the company said it would consider additional ways to return cash to shareholders. Shares of credit ratings agency Moody's fell nearly 5% on worries of a government lawsuit over the firm’s ratings of mortgage securities, as the government did launch action against rival Standard & Poor’s earlier this week. Investors shrugged off its earnings report that came in line with expectations. Coinstar's stock tumbled more than 7%, after the company missed analyst revenue and profit forecasts. Economically speaking, the U.S. trade deficit shrank in December to $38.5 billion, down from $48.6 billion U.S. the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Wholesale inventories for December dropped 0.1% compared to expectations that those inventories would rise 0.3%. Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury backtracked slightly, raising yields to 1.96% from Thursday’s 1.95%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices grew 44 cents to $96.27 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices dropped $2.70 to $1,668.60 U.S. an ounce.