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Trader Michael Capolino, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, May 19, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)
Trader Michael Capolino, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, May 19, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)

At midday: TSX climbs amid surge in tech stocks, weak GDP data Add to ...

The Toronto stock market climbed Monday, pulled up by strong gains in information technology stocks.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 28.87 points to 15,123.12.

The loonie dropped 0.02 of a cent to 93.78 cents (U.S.), as Statistics Canada reported the economy grew by 0.1 per cent in April, the same pace as in March. The figures failed to meet economists’ expectations of a gain of 0.2 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

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“It’s not at all surprising to see that we’re seeing sluggish growth. It’s a reflection of a couple of different factors. We haven’t seen the U.S. or the global economy hit its stride, so that’s weighing on the export component of the Canadian economy,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Mo.

“We also continue to see consumers trying to manage high debt loads, along with sluggish wage growth and relativity choppy job growth overall.”

New York indexes were mostly lower as the Dow Jones industrials shed 25.14 points to 16,826.70, the Nasdaq was up 2.82 points to 4,400.73, while the S&P 500 index slipped 0.85 of point to 1,960.11. It’s a shortened trading week for both the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the New York markets. The TSX will close Tuesday for Canada Day and the U.S. indexes will close July 4 for Independence Day.

Traders are awaiting two key reports in the U.S. this week – the Institute for Supply Management’s June reading on the manufacturing sector Tuesday and the U.S. government’s employment report for last month, which is being released on Thursday. Markets are hoping to see clear signs of the underlying strength of the U.S. economy.

In corporate news, a group of GM Canada dealers is suing the company and its parent General Motors Co., saying the automaker has ignored their repeated calls for financial help to address a drop in sales and market share. In the U.S., the automaker said it is prepared to pay out billions of General Motors’ money to victims of crashes in GM small cars – provided they can prove the cars’ ignition switches caused the crash.

GM links 13 deaths to a defective ignition switch in cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. But trial lawyers and lawmakers say claims of wrongful death and injury could total in the hundreds.

On the commodity markets, the August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 40 cents to $105.34 (U.S.) a barrel. August bullion was down $1.60 to $1,318.40 an ounce, while September copper was up three cents to $3.16 a pound.

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