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(Mario Tama/Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Mario Tama/Mario Tama/Getty Images)

At the open: Economic data help stocks Add to ...

Canadian and U.S. markets opened higher on Wednesday, following better-than-expected data on U.S. industrial output and some improvement in the country’s moribund housing market.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 29.29 points to 12,661.29. The broader S&P 500 added 4.48 points to 1,335.14 points.

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General Motors Co. rose 3.4 per cent after Berkshire Hathaway Inc. disclosed it had bought a stake in the auto maker. Target Corp. rose 1 per cent after the retailer beat quarterly profit expectations.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX inched forward by 3.3 points to 11,346.35 points, with advancing stocks outpacing decliners by nearly two to one.

The cautious rise came after the U.S. Commerce Department reported a 2.6 per cent monthly increase in housing starts last month and the Federal Reserve announced that industrial production in April had risen by 1.1 per cent, the most since December 2010. Economists had forecasted a 0.6 per cent gain, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The gains come even as the uncertainty around the European debt crisis continues. Greek president Karolos Papoulias announced the country will hold new elections after politicians failed to reach agreement on a coalition government to run the country. The vote is already being considered a referendum on whether the country should remain in the euro zone and investors are concerned that political gridlock will put international aide at risk.

Commodities have sold off on the latest European news. Oil fell 98 cents (U.S.) to $93.00. Gold was down another 1 per cent, or $16.70, to $1,540.40. The loonie dipped a small fraction to 99.26 cents.

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