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Canadian dollar lower as U.S. jobs data narrowly misses expectations

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A loonie is pictured in North Vancouver Dec.31, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

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A loonie is pictured in North Vancouver Dec.31, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar closed lower Friday in generally risk-averse markets amid U.S. employment data that slightly missed expectations.

The loonie was down 0.19 of a cent to 91.52 cents US, as the U.S. Labor Department said the American economy added 209,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 of a point to 6.2 per cent.

Generally, economists had looked for the U.S. economy to add 225,000 jobs with unemployment rate holding steady.

U.S. job growth figures for May and June were revised upward.

Canadian employment data for July will be released Aug. 8.

At the same time, global equity markets were in the second day of a selloff amid concerns that strong U.S. economic growth could result in the Federal Reserve hiking rates earlier than expected.

There were also worries about the ripple effects from Argentina, which again defaulted on its debt, and tensions between the West and Russia over that country's support of Ukrainian rebels blamed for shooting down an airliner last month.

On top of it all, cracks in stock markets are appearing at a time when indexes are close to all time highs and the bull market has run practically non-stop for over five years.

Nervous investors looking for safety pushed December gold up gained $12 to US$1,294.80 an ounce. And the yield on the benchmark U.S. Treasury fell to 2.496 per cent Friday afternoon from 2.55 per cent Thursday.

There was also positive news from China's manufacturing sector.

The Chinese government’s official purchasing managers index came in above expectations at 51.7 in July, up 0.7 of a point from June, the highest reading in 27 months. And to complement it, the HSBC manufacturing PMI was lowered to 51.7 from the preliminary estimate of 52.0, but that is still the best level in 18 months. Taken together, the measures point to improving economic activity.

Elsewhere on the commodity markets, September crude lost 29 cents to US$97.88. And September copper lost two cents to US$3.21 a pound.

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