North American stocks rose modestly at the start of trading on Tuesday, the start of March, after indexes turned in a solid performance in February.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,250. The broader S&P 500 rose 2 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1329. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 64 points or 0.5 per cent.
The Bank of Canada held its key rate unchanged, at 1 per cent, remarking that the economic recovery is stronger than expected but that global risks remain and the high Canadian dollar still poses a risk to exporters.
Gold was strong, rising to $1420 (U.S.) an ounce, up $10 - putting it close to its record high in nominal terms. Goldcorp Inc. rose 2.8 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 2 per cent.
Canadian bank stocks were mostly higher after Bank of Montreal reported its fiscal first quarter earnings, topping expectations. BMO shares rose 0.7 per cent and Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.6 per cent.
Among U.S. stocks, some of the more economically defensive stocks showed the biggest gains. Coca-Cola Co. rose 1.3 per cent and Merck & Co. Inc. rose 1.1 per cent. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard Co. fell 1.2 per cent and Walt Disney Co. fell 1.1 per cent.