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(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

At midday: Mining stocks push TSX higher Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was slightly higher late morning Thursday amid encouraging Chinese manufacturing data and strong earnings reports.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 16.17 points to 15,410.55, led by rising mining stocks in the wake of data showing China’s manufacturing rose in July to its highest level in 18 months.

The preliminary HSBC purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.0 in July from 50.7 in June. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The Canadian dollar declined 0.14 of a cent to 93.07 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes also registered modest gains as traders digested reports from a slew of companies and data showing new home sales in the United States plunged 8.1 per cent last month.

The Dow Jones industrials gained 16.38 points to 17,103.01, the Nasdaq was up 4.03 points to 4,477.72 and the S&P 500 index edged up 2.69 points to 1,989.7.

Meanwhile, investors waded through a deluge of earnings reports.

In Canada, Teck Resources Limited reports a second-quarter net profit of $80-million, or 14 cents share, compared with $143-million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago. Adjusted profit, excluding items, was $72-million, or 13 cents per share, a penny better than estimates and its shares ran up 83 cents to $26.45.

However, one big reason for the improvement was a cost cutting program launched two years ago that Teck said has exceeded its initial goals.

“What we are seeing is bottom line growth and a lot of cost cutting, slimming down,” said Allan Small, senior adviser at HollisWealth.

“So, hopefully we’ll see topline growth as emerging economies continue to rebound,” Small said.

Loblaw Companies Ltd. posted a net quarterly loss of $456-million, or $1.13 per share, with results hit by costs involving the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart. Adjusted earnings of 75 cents a share beat estimates by eight cents a share and its shares advanced 60 cents to $51.94.

Rogers Communications Inc. reports a second-quarter net income of $405-million, or 76 cents per diluted share, down 24 per cent from $532-million, or 93 cents, in the same quarter of 2013. Rogers shares gained 85 cents to $43.25 as its adjusted net income was $432-million, or 84 cents, which met expectations.

In the U.S., Ford Motor Co. beat expectations in the second quarter as it chalked up a record profit in North America and made money in Europe for the first time in three years. Ex-items, Ford earned 40 cents per share, a dime better than forecasts and its shares were up 1.12 per cent to $17.98 (U.S.).

Recall costs chopped $1.5-billion from General Motors’ bottom line in the second quarter, cutting its net income by 85 per cent to $190-million, or 11 cents per share. GM shares fell 3.6 per cent to $36.06.

The base metals sector led advancers, up 1.22 per cent as the Chinese manufacturing data sent September copper up six cents to $3.27 a pound.

The tech sector gained one per cent while BlackBerry increased 42 cents to $10.96 (Canadian) after the Financial Times reported the company is in talks with rival technology groups about partnerships to compete with the newly forged alliance between Apple and IBM to serve business customers.

The energy sector rose 0.15 per cent, while September crude declined 24 cents to $102.88 (U.S.) a barrel.

The gold sector was the biggest decliner, down 1.5 per cent while August gold was down $13 to $1,291.70 an ounce.

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