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The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)
The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)

At the open: TSX higher amid strong gains in resource stocks Add to ...

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

The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 64.12 points to 12,516.38.

The Canadian dollar was unchanged at 99.56 cents US, after being up slightly prior to the open.

Wall Street saw some clawback from the highs it registered on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrials index was down 31.88 points to 15,024.32 after a record-breaking close Tuesday above 15,000.

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The Nasdaq dropped 0.93 points to 3,395.70, while the broader market measure, Standard and Poor’s 500, declined 0.98 of a point to 1,624.95. The S&P 500 broke past 1,600 for the first time last Friday.

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. 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.

Commodities were also ahead, with June gold bullion surging $19.30 to $1,468.10 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 decline in the first quarter.

The June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 44 cents at $96.06 a barrel.

Most sectors on the TSX were higher at the open, with the major drivers being the metal and mining sector, which jumped more than three per cent, and the gold sector, up 2.22 per cent. The leading decliner was utilities, which dropped 0.44 per cent.

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

Energy giant Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) cited unrealized losses on derivatives among reasons for a decline in first-quarter net income. The Calgary-based pipeline and gas distribution company says net earnings attributable to common shareholders fell to $250-million or 31 cents per diluted share. Prior-year earnings in the quarter were $261-million or 34 cents per diluted share. Its shares were up 34 cents, or 0.72 per cent, to $47.89.

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 what was expected to be a “soft quarter.”

The Ontario-based company with more than 4,200 locations across Canada and the U.S. 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 89 cents, or 1.52 per cent, at $57.75.

Also, two media companies 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. That compared with $17.5-million or 22 cents per share in the same 2012 period. Investors reacted by driving the stock down more than five per cent, or 35 cents, to $6.24.

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 4.2 per cent, or $1.96, to $44.72.

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.

And Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.1 per cent to 5,199.80 a day after an interest rate reduction by the country’s central bank while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 per cent to 1,956.45.

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