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A Chinese national flag flutters on the Pearl River near a construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, March 27, 2014. (ALEX LEE/REUTERS)
A Chinese national flag flutters on the Pearl River near a construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, March 27, 2014. (ALEX LEE/REUTERS)

At midday: TSX climbs amid mixed China data Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was higher Monday amid little economic news except for some mixed data from China over the weekend.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 37.37 points to 14,876.27. The Canadian dollar was up 0.24 of a cent to 91.73 cents (U.S.).

No news looks like good news for North American stock markets as traders renew their confidence in equities with little negative signs in sight to persuade them to do otherwise, says chief investment officer Sadiq Adatia.

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“It’s an environment where there is good momentum,” said Adatia, who is with Sun Life Global Investment. “There is not very much in terms of negative comments coming out of anywhere.”

On Wall Street, U.S. markets were positive after a mixed open. There had been some expectations that the indexes would open lower, after touching record-heights last week but that was not the case as the Dow Jones industrials climbed 22.79 points to 16,947.07 and the Nasdaq jumped 12.96 points to 4,334.36. The S&P 500 index was ahead by 2.99 points to 1,952.43.

On Sunday, China reported that its export growth accelerated in May, despite a dip in imports.

The world’s second-largest economy said exports rose seven per cent in dollar terms, up from a 0.9 per cent increase in April and rather large slump in February and March. Imports declined 1.6 per cent in May after inching up 0.8 per cent in April. Private sector analysts say the Chinese economy will likely slow down as the impact of mini-stimulus efforts fade.

The data comes as the European Central Bank moved to deal with the threat of deflation and give some lift to a tepid economic recovery overseas. Last week, the ECB announced it was cutting its lending rate to 0.15 per cent from 0.25 per cent. It’s also slashing its overnight deposit rate to minus 0.1 per cent from zero.

Investors had been counting on the ECB to take action to save the eurozone region from falling into a deflationary spiral that would choke off growth.

Adatia said the move helped send positive ripples throughout world markets.

“Last week was the trigger point in my mind. If the ECB didn’t do anything there would be negative tone in the market,” he said.

Adatia expects the markets to continue on its upward trajectory barring any major negative news, like a sharp decline in the Canadian housing market, or more developments between Russia and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says housing starts increased to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 198,324 homes in May, up from 196,687 in April. The results were better than expected as economists had expected the pace to come in at 185,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

On the corporate front, U.S. meat producer Tyson Foods Inc. said it has won a bidding war for Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. Tyson Foods, which had been fighting with Pilgrim’s Pride for Hillshire, values the tentative deal at $8.55-billion (U.S.).

Pharmaceutical company Merck also announced that it will spend nearly $4-billion for Idenix Pharmaceuticals with a per-share bid that more than triples the hepatitis C drug developer’s last closing price.

Drug companies have been racing to test new and potentially lucrative treatments for hepatitis C, a blood-borne disease that causes liver damage and is expected to become more common as the U.S. population ages.

In commodities, July crude in New York climbed $1.47 to $104.13 (U.S.) a barrel. August bullion gained 70 cents to $1,253.20 an ounce, while July copper fell a penny to $3.04 a pound.

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