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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 up modestly, Wall Street mixed Add to ...

The Toronto stock market opened higher Monday amid news that Canadian building permits were up for the third consecutive month in March.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 27.32 points to 12,465.35.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.07 of a cent at 99.16 cents US.

Statistics Canada says municipalities issued $6.5-billion worth of building permits last month, up 8.6 per cent from February. Most of the gains were from the non-residential sector in Ontario and Alberta, with those permits rising 19 per cent to $2.8-billion. Residential permits increased 1.7 per cent to $3.6-billion after an 8.1 per cent decline in February.

Meanwhile, Wall Street saw a mixed opening after finishing last week on a high note following a report that found the U.S. economy was showing surprising signs of improvement on the jobs front.

The Dow Jones industrials was down 30.16 points at 14,943.80 after breaking through 15,000 Friday for the first time. The S&P was up eight points to 1,614.50 after moving above 1,600 at the end of the week.

The Nasdaq rose 4.83 points to 3,383.46.

Commodity prices were higher as the June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped 44 cents to $95.17 a barrel.

June gold bullion gained $1.30 to $1,465.50 an ounce, while July copper was down two cents at $3.29 a pound.

On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said employers added 165,000 jobs in April, while both February and March numbers were also better than first thought. The combination trimmed the U.S. unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 per cent.

The news boosted hopes that the world’s largest economy is recovering despite a number of recent manufacturing and corporate earnings reports that came in mixed.

No major economic news is scheduled for the week, except for the latest Canadian job numbers which come out Friday. Consensus expectations suggest the economy added about 11,000 jobs in April.

In major corporate news, private equity firm Onex Corp. (TSX:OCX) says it will pay $950-million (U.S.) in cash to acquire business-to-business trade show operator Nielsen Expositions. The purchase, from an affiliate of Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE:NLSN), is expected to close in the second quarter. Its shares were up 34 cents to $49.92.

Based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Nielsen Expositions, with about 240 employees, produces more than 65 business-to-business trade shows and conference events each year.

The shows involve diversified end markets, including general merchandise, sports, hospitality and retail design, jewelry and photography. In 2012, Nielsen Expositions generated revenues of approximately $183-million.

Meanwhile, overseas, European bourses took back some of its gains as the optimism from the U.S. report faded.

Germany’s DAX was 0.1 per cent lower at 8,116.10 after hitting a record high Friday. France’s CAC-40 was down 0.3 per cent at 3,902.95.

In Asia, Malaysia’s KLSE Composite surged 3.4 per cent to 1,752.02 after the country’s governing coalition won national elections, albeit with a weakened majority.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose one per cent to 22,915.09, while Australia’s S&P/ASX advanced 0.5 per cent to 5,156.20. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia also rose, while the Philippines fell and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.2 per cent to 1,962.25.

Markets in London and Tokyo were closed for public holidays.


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