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Torstar-Southam br Mr. Jarislowsky helped lead opposition to a 1985 deal by Torstar Corp. and Southam Inc. to swap shares and take an ownership interest in each others’ companies to help stave off a possible future takeover bid for Southam. Mr. Jarislowsky complained to the Ontario Securities Commission that the deal locked control of the company in Southam family hands and was unfair to minority shareholders. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)
Torstar-Southam br Mr. Jarislowsky helped lead opposition to a 1985 deal by Torstar Corp. and Southam Inc. to swap shares and take an ownership interest in each others’ companies to help stave off a possible future takeover bid for Southam. Mr. Jarislowsky complained to the Ontario Securities Commission that the deal locked control of the company in Southam family hands and was unfair to minority shareholders. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

At midday: TSX higher but media firms suffer steep losses Add to ...

The Toronto stock market climbed higher Wednesday, boosted by strengthening commodities and a generally positive tone from world markets.

The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 76.19 points to 12,540.30.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.07 of a cent at 99.61 cents US.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrials index moved edged up 1.08 points to 15,057.28, gaining on Tuesday’s record-breaking close above 15,000. The Nasdaq was up 9.71 points at 3,406.34, while the broader market measure, the Standard and Poor’s 500, advanced 2.81 points to 1,628.77. The S&P broke past 1,600 for the first time last Friday.

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Analysts are watching to see if the markets will continue their record-breaking highs or if the lack of economic and corporate news will result in a market correction. The U.S. indexes were initially down at the open, but later since recovered.

Stronger equity markets in Canada are a sign of heightened investor appetite for risk and optimism that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining momentum.

“It seems to be that at least, the path of resistance is up, especially in the U.S. It’s hard to see what’s going to derail this upwards trend,” said Ian Nakamoto, a portfolio manager with investment firm MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

“I don’t think the rate of capitalization is going to be as strong as we had in the last couple of months, but people just want to put money into the market.”

Nakamoto said burgeoning commodity prices, particularly in gold and copper, have also helped the resource-heavy TSX. At this point, it’s unclear when there might be a clawback of some of the gains.

“There will be some sort of pullback. Every year there is pullback,” he said. “It’s just a matter of when and what causes it. My best guess is that its going to be in the summer because people tend to take their guard down.”

The gold sector rose 2.82 per cent as June bullion surged $17.60 to $1,466.40 an ounce.

July copper was up eight cents at $3.39 a pound following strong import and export data from China suggesting that the world’s No. 2 economy might be strengthening after an unexpected slowing in the first quarter. The TSX metals and mining sector was the leading driver of the index, with an increase of 3.33 per cent.

The June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 44 cents at $96.06 a barrel as the energy sector jumped by 0.68 per cent.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the fewer houses were built in April, mainly due to a decline in urban areas.

The agency estimates there were 15,390 actual starts last month. Adjusted seasonally at an annual rate, there were 174,858 units, down from 181,146 in March.

Meanwhile, Canada is mid-way through a heavy earnings week.

Shares in Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) were up 40 cents, or 0.84 per cent at $47.95 after the pipeline giant reported higher first-quarter adjusted earnings that beat expectations, but warned it doesn’t expect that pace to last.

Enbridge adjusted profits came in at $488-million, or 62 cents per share – beating the average analyst estimate by 10 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters. During the same period a year earlier, Enbridge earned $373-million, or 49 cents per share. Net earnings fell to $250-million or 31 cents, from $261-million or 34 cents per diluted share.

Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX:THI) says it has appointed longtime senior Nestle executive Marc Caira as its new president and CEO. The iconic coffee and doughnut chain also reported a slight contraction in net income. It had net income attributable to stockholders of $86.2-million or 56 cents per share, down 2.9 per cent from $88.8-million. Tim Hortons shares were down $1.54, or nearly three per cent, at $57.10.

Two media companies also reported declines in first-quarter income.

Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) says it saw a drop in both revenue and net income in the first quarter as the newspaper and book publisher continued to face challenges in the print advertising market.

The company, which operates a number of digital properties along with publishing the Toronto Star and Harlequin books, says net income attributable to equity shareholders tumbled $13.3-million to $4.2-million or five cents per share in the quarter. The TSX reacted by driving the stock down nearly five per cent, or 29 cents, to $6.30.

Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B) also reported a sharp drop in first-quarter net income, although revenues remained stable overall, falling less than one per cent. The Quebec-based majority owner of Quebecor Media Inc., says net income attributable to shareholders was $35.6-million or 57 cents per share, compared with $71.4-million or $1.13 per basic share in the first quarter of 2012. Its shares were dropped nearly four per cent, or $1.85, to $44.83.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.2 per cent at 6,569.27 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.5 per cent to 3,941.61. Germany’s DAX appeared headed for another record close, rising 0.4 per cent to 8,217.52.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent to 2,246.3, while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.1 per cent to 965.41. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.9 per cent to 23,244.35.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7 per cent to 14,285.69, its highest close in almost five years even though the yen once again failed to breach the 100-yen level against the dollar. The dollar was trading 0.1 per cent higher at 98.96 yen.

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