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At the open: Dow, TSX surge at start of 2012 Add to ...

Here’s an encouraging start to 2012: North American stocks jumped at the start of trading on Tuesday, on the first day of trading in the New Year, with investors reacting to upbeat international economic news.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 225 points or 1.8 per cent, to 12,443. The broader S&P 500 rose 22 points or 1.8 per cent, to 1280. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 185 points or 1.6 per cent, to 12,140.

The gains follow a string of better-than-expected news, mostly from Europe and Asia. In Germany, jobless numbers were better than expected, which followed stronger-than-expected manufacturing data for the euro zone in December. And in China, manufacturing activity rebounded to expansion territory in December after contracting in November.

The gains were broad, lifting 29 of the 30 stocks within the Dow. Among the banks, Bank of America Corp. rose 4.1 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 3.5 per cent. Caterpillar Inc. rose 4.3 per cent and Microsoft Corp. rose 2.1 per cent. Johnson & Johnson, the only drag on the Dow, fell 0.2 per cent.

In Canada, commodity producers were strong after commodity prices moved higher. Gold rose to $1,592 (U.S.) an ounce, up $25. Crude oil rose to $101.17 a barrel, up $2.34. Barrick Gold Corp. rose 2.4 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. rose 3 per cent.

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