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At midday: TSX flat as oil prices ease Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was relatively flat Thursday as tension over Egypt’s political strife subsided.

The S&P/TSX composite index was off 0.12 of a point at 12,145.56 near midday.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.01 of a cent to 95.16 cents US.

U.S. markets are closed for the Independence Day holiday, which put most attention on developments overseas.

In Egypt, the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has been removed from office by the armed forces.

Investors around the world were also keeping a close watch on the price of oil, which eased slightly but remained above $100 (U.S.) a barrel for the first time since May 2012. The August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down six cents to $101.18 a barrel.

Egypt is not an oil producer but its control of the Suez canal – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, which links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea – gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has underlined the bank’s determination to stick with stimulus for the struggling euro zone, saying the bank will keep its benchmark interest rate the same or lower “for an extended period of time.”

And the Bank of England surprised markets after its first monetary policy meeting held under new governor Mark Carney, saying it views inflation pressures as temporary. That suggests it will keep its policies loose for the foreseeable future.

In Portugal, the governing coalition continued to look shaky, a situation that earlier this week raised the spectre of Europe’s debt crisis returning to a boil.

On the TSX, the gold sector was 0.1 per cent higher as Barrick Gold fell 11 cents to $15.40. August gold bullion dropped $4 to $1,247.90 an ounce on the Nymex.

Energy stocks fell 0.1 per cent with Encana Corp. dropping 12 cents to $17.73.

WestJet says its passenger traffic increased more than eight per cent in June, despite some cancellations and weakness in advance bookings following severe floods in southern Alberta. The company’s shares were down 32 cents to $22.18.

Overseas, Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up three per cent to 6,416. Germany’s DAX rose 2.1 per cent to 7,996 and France’s CAC 40 was up 2.5 per cent to 3,795.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was the strongest gainer, rising 1.6 per cent to 20,468.67. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.6 per cent to 2,006.10.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 bucked the trend, slipping 0.3 per cent to 14,018.93, despite remarks from Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda that the country’s economy is headed for recovery. The yen strengthened.

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