Toronto's main stock index edged higher on Friday, taking cues from U.S. and Europe and from commodity prices.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index increased 50.72 points to begin Friday at 12,506.54
The Canadian dollar gained 0.09 cents to 100.92 cents U.S.
Canadian stocks to watch this morning include BCE Inc., which said it has agreed to acquire Astral Media in a deal that values the television and radio program broadcaster at about $3.38 billion, including the assumption of debt.
Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. said its fourth-quarter loss more than doubled and the company, which in January signaled a possible sale of itself, forecast lower 2012 production.
Construction behemoth Stella-Jones reported a 26% rise in fourth-quarter profit helped by strong demand for its railway ties.
The union representing 3,000 pilots at Air Canada said on Thursday it will launch a legal challenge to Canadian government legislation preventing a strike or lockout at the company.
On matters economic docket, Statistics Canada reported this morning that Manufacturing sales slid 0.9% to $49.6 billion in January, only the second such decrease in the last seven months.
The agency also reported that foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by $4.2 billion in January after pumping $55.1 billion into this country over the previous six months.
Canadian investors acquired foreign securities for a ninth straight month, adding $1.3 billion to their holdings, purchasing equities while selling debt instruments.
The TSX Venture Exchange added 0.27 points to 1,601.79, while the Nasdaq Canada index moved 1.62 points higher to 415.96
Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were up to begin the session, with consumer discretionaries ahead 1.8%, while global base metals and energy stocks surged 0.6% each.
The five laggards were weighed by health-care, down 0.9$, gold, off 0.7% and real-estate, sliding 0.3%. Materials were flat at the outset.
In New York, equities opened slightly higher Friday, after a report showed inflation ticked up in line with forecasts, signaling that the U.S. economy is on solid footing.
The Dow Jones Industrials gained 5.11 points Friday to 13,257.90.
The S&P 500 tacked on 1.14 points to 1,403.74, while the Nasdaq dipped 3.09 points to 3,053.28.
Investors will continue looking for more of the strong economic figures that have propelled shares higher this week.
Stocks finished higher Thursday, with the S&P 500 topping the 1,400 mark for the first time in nearly four years. The Dow logged its seventh straight day of gains and closed at its highest point since December 2007, while the Nasdaq closed at its highest level since November 2000.
Apple is scheduled to release the new iPad Friday, and shares were up half a percent in premarket trading. On Thursday, Apple shares touched an all-time high above the $600 U.S. per share benchmark, but slipped into the red by afternoon.
Financial stocks were also on the move, with Bank of America up 2% while Morgan Stanley edged up 0.5%.
Economically speaking, Inflation for February increased by 0.4% in February after rising 0.2% the previous month, according to the government's latest numbers.
Higher gasoline prices were the biggest factor in the rise, accounting for more than 80% of the index's increase. The report showed consumer prices were up 2.9% year-over-year.
Industrial production for February is expected to have increased by 0.5%, while the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for March is expected to stand at 75.8, up from 75.3 in February.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2.35% from 2.28% Thursday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for February delivery hiked 58 cents to $105.69 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery fell $12.50 to $1,647.10 U.S. an ounce.