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In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil. (FELIPE DANA/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin he arrives for an official group photo during the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace, in Brasilia, Brazil.

(FELIPE DANA/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

At midday: TSX climbs as Putin remarks calm Ukraine fears Add to ...

Canada’s main stock index advanced on Thursday as comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin helped ease concerns about a further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine and drove gains in most major sectors.

Putin said Russians need to mobilize for the benefit of their country but not for conflict with the outside world.

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The Toronto stock market’s benchmark TSX index is up more than 12 per cent this year, though trading has been choppy in the past couple of weeks due to the crises in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“The latest news out of Ukraine has given a little bit of calmness to the markets,” said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at HollisWealth. “Investors should look at these events as short-term opportunities and accumulate positions in good-quality investments.”

“(A) low interest rate environment and easy money by the (U.S. Federal Reserve) and central banks around the world will continue to drive global stock markets higher,” he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 38.67 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 15,301.40. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, gained 0.5 per cent, with Royal Bank of Canada rising 0.6 per cent to $80 and Toronto-Dominion Bank adding 0.4 per cent to $56.72.

The consumer staples group was up 0.5 per cent. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc advanced 1.2 per cent to $30.06.

A rise in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, which climbed 1.3 per cent to $120.76, helped boost the health-care sector. The stock was one the most influential gainers on the index.

U.S. markets were also positive Thursday afternoon, with the S&P 500 up 5.99 points to 1,952.71, the Dow Jones Industrials up 41.57 to 16,693.37 and the Nasdaq up 11.99 points to 4,446.12.

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