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BlackBerry logos and flags are seen at the company’s offices in Waterloo, Ont. (Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail)
BlackBerry logos and flags are seen at the company’s offices in Waterloo, Ont. (Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail)

At midday: TSX climbs, BlackBerry gains stick Add to ...

The Toronto stock market climbed higher Monday, helped by positive news from Asia’s two largest economies.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 20.59 points to 12,841.51. The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.35 of a cent to 96.42 cents US.

Overnight, Chinese stocks rose after data showed that the country’s exports accelerated while inflation edged lower last month, raising hopes that China is on the path to recovery from a slowdown.

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Japanese shares also rallied thanks to Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics bid victory, which helped boost sentiment. The Summer Olympics are expected to provide a welcome boost, much of it in the construction sector, where the government is already spending heavily as part of its stimulus program.

On Wall Street, U.S. markets were also positive as the Dow Jones industrials rose 86.99 points to 15,099.49, the Nasdaq was up 22.73 points to 3,682.74 and the S&P 500 was ahead 7.94 points to 1,663.11.

“We’re getting a good bounce in the market, largely driven by the data out of China which showed not only that inflation pressures are relatively subdued but export demand looks pretty good,” said Craig Fehr, a Canadian market strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis, MO.

“This is obviously boosting globally-sensitive areas, like materials, which is giving the TSX a nice bump.”

Fehr said that the Chinese data shows that there may not only be stablization in the world’s second-largest economy, but also signs of it picking it up again.

“The market became so accustomed to very strong growth and very strong data out of China for the past decade, that when China then entered into a slowdown phase in the last year or two, there was a sort of reconditioning period from investors on what to expect from China,” he said.

“Now that we’re getting a little more positive data out of China, investors are seeing that there is some more stabilization in that economy and maybe even some acceleration.”

Strong growth out of China, which is a very commodities-heavy economy, will in turn help lift Canadian, U.S. and European markets, added Fehr.

Meanwhile, the Toronto stock market got an early boost after BlackBerry’s stock jumped more than 4 per cent following an unconfirmed report that Canadian investor Prem Watsa was close to buying the troubled smartphone company. Its shares were up 49 cents to $11.78.

In corporate news, Ares Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board confirm they plan to buy luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group for US$6-billion.

Shares in Gabriel Resources Ltd. (TSX:GBU) plummeted nearly 50 per cent, or 70 cents, after it said it has put in an urgent request for the Romanian government to clarify whether it plans to block debate on draft legislation affecting its Rosia Montana gold project.

Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta is reported as saying he would look for other ways to find jobs in the deprived area, where thousands have protested this week against the proposed mine.

Gabriel Resources has struggled for several years to overcome opposition to the project, which opponents say poses too much of an environmental risk because it uses cyanide in the extraction process. Its shares were worth 77 cents in mid-day trading.

Meanwhile, uranium producer Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) says it will miss its 2013 production target for its Cigar Lake mining project in Saskatchewan due to delays in starting up ore production and mill processing.

The major new mine has been delayed several times in past years due to flooding and other technical issues. The Saskatoon-based company owns about half of Cigar Lake and had previously forecast the mine would produce 300,000 pounds of U3O8 this year but now expects production won’t begin until 2014. Shares in Cameco fell 32 cents or 1.56 per cent to $20.21.

In the U.S., billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he was ending his bitter takeover fight for struggling computer maker Dell.

Company founder Michael Dell had made a $24.8-billion bid to take his company private, which included an offer of $13.75 (U.S.) per share plus a 13-cent dividend. Dell raised that bid last month after previous offers drew strong criticism from Icahn and other major Dell Inc. investors.

Traders will continue to look this week for clues on what the U.S. will do on the Syria situation. President Barack Obama is set to take his case Tuesday to Americans for punishing the Assad regime for an alleged sarin gas attack on civilians Aug. 21. A congressional vote on military action could come sometime this week as lawmakers return from their summer break.

On the commodities front, December bullion climbed $2 to $1,388.50 (U.S.) an ounce and copper was up a penny to $3.28, helped by the Chinese data. The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 87 cents to $109.66 a barrel.

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