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Stocks reclaimed ground Friday as investors digested news of lower-than-expected consumer confidence data and a wider-than-expected trade gap in the U.S.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 89.33 points to 10286.8. It was bolstered by a 3 per cent rise in shares of Walt Disney, which posted better than anticipated quarterly results after the close on Thursday.

The S&P 500 gain 7.44 points, led by the Abercrombie & Fitch, which reported that its quarterly profit declined less than analysts had forecast. The retailer's stock rose 7 per cent.

Shares of J.C. Penny also jumped 7 per cent, after the No. 3 department store chain in the U.S. raised its financial forecast for the year.

The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment decreased to 66 from 70.6 in October, just as U.S. unemployment hit a 26 year high. The index had been expected to rise to 71 according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Toronto's S&P/TSX climbed 28.72 points to 11389.48 with gold stocks leading the charge. Iamgold rose 5 per cent to $18.91, New Gold gained 4 per cent to $4.21.

The price of bullion was up $6.30 to $1112.90.

Canadian conglomerate Power Corp. provided quarterly results after market hours on Thursday that fell short of expectations, posting a 25 per cent drop in third-quarter profit. The stock was among the biggest losers of the morning on the S&P/TSX, down 3 per cent to $26.19.

Shares of Canadian Tire slid 5 per cent to $55.49 after the retailer reported Thursday that same store sales decreased 4 per cent in the last quarter. The company said that its financial services business was hurt by a steep increase in loan losses.

Suncor and UTS energy remained among the most actives, after Suncor said it plans to expand its oil sands production by between 10 and 12 per cent a year over the next decade, but declined to make any commitment on the proposed Fort Hills oil sands mine, where UTS has a major presence.

UTS lost 2 per cent to trade at $2.13. Suncor shares gained 1 per cent to $36.88, aided by a new "buy" recommendation from Bank of America. The bank also put "buy" ratings on Talisman Energy, Nexen and Petrominerales.

Shares of Research In Motion declined 89 cents to $65.74 after Dell said it will enter the smart phone market with a device running Google's Android software platform. Dell also said it has inked distribution partnerships with two of the world's largest mobile operators - China Mobile and Claro. RIM has been under attack for allowing Apple and other competitors to gain a firmer footing in the smart phone market.

In an interview with the Financial Times, co-CEO Jim Balsillie rejected any suggestion that RIM was in a position of weakness. "We changed the world today in a way where nobody ever, ever, ever has even possibly declared that sense of possibility - and you frame it as catch-up? I'm shocked," he said.

 

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