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Trader Michael Zicchinolfi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)
Trader Michael Zicchinolfi works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (Richard Drew/AP)

At midday: TSX rises after slump on emerging market concerns Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was higher Tuesday after emerging market worries helped spark a series of sharp losses.

The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 87.39 points to 13,669.68 as investors also looked to a major deal in the financial sector.

Bank of Montreal is offering to buy U.K.-based investment manager F&C Asset Management PLC in a cash deal valued at $1.3-billion. BMO shares dipped 56 cents to $69.90.

The Canadian dollar was lower after closing at a 4 1/2 year low on Monday, down 0.44 of a cent to 89.55 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes were higher as traders shrugged off a surprisingly weak durable goods orders report for December and concentrated on other data showing U.S. consumer confidence has reached its highest point since August on the strength of a brighter view of the job market and business conditions.

The U.S. Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 80.7 this month from a December reading of 77.5.

The Dow Jones industrials were up 80.91 points to 15,918.79, the Nasdaq composite index moved up 11.74 points to 4,095.35 while the S&P 500 index rose 10.19 points to 1,791.75.

Markets have been severely buffeted over the last few sessions on concerns about emerging markets, including slowing growth in China, the world’s second biggest economy.

Investors have also been jittery because of currency turmoil involving countries such as the Turkish lira, the Russian ruble and the Indian rupee as investors wonder how the Federal Reserve’s policy to reduce its monetary stimulus impacts on them.

“What’s fearful is that currency instability often leads to economic and stock instability,” observed John Stephenson, portfolio manager at First Asset Funds.

The Fed’s massive bond purchases over the last few years has resulted in a stream of cheap money into those markets. But now the central bank is cutting back on those asset purchases.

The Fed makes its next interest rate announcement Wednesday and markets widely expect it to further pare its bond purchases by another $10-billion (U.S.) a month to $65-billion.

At the same time, analysts have suggested that North American stock markets were vulnerable to a correction after Fed monetary easing helped underpin a strong rally on many equity markets last year that left the S&P 500 alone up about 30 per cent for 2013.

“Investors have said we had some dodgy data, we had a selloff, the market has come off a bit, it’s down for the year (by over four per cent),” added Stephenson.

“We’ve had a correction, I don’t see us going down ten per cent, and three, four per cent, that’s a pretty healthy correction and it’s time to start looking to buy.”

All TSX sectors were higher with gains paced by a 2.4 per cent rise in the base metals sector while March copper on the Nymex was unchanged at $3.26 (U.S.) a pound. Teck Resources was up 75 cents to $27.63 (Canadian).

First Quantum Minerals says it expects its Cobre Panama project will cost about $6.4-billion (U.S.), up from an earlier estimate of $6.2-billion. But it added the mine will produce about 320,000 tonnes of copper annually over the life of the mine, up about 20 per cent and First Quantum shares gained 38 cents to $20.22.

February bullion declined $11.10 to $1,252.30 (U.S.) an ounce and the gold sector moved up 1.66 per cent. Primero Mining ran up 21 cents to $6.10 (Canadian) while Barrick Gold rose 39 cents to $21.

The tech sector rose 1.5 per cent with BlackBerry ahead 32 cents to $11.16 as the company said that it’s making several changes to its BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system, including a revised incoming call screen.

Oil prices recovered after two days of steep losses with the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up $1.76 to $97.48 (U.S.) a barrel. The energy sector rose almost 0.7 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources advanced 65 cents to $36.02 (Canadian).

Financials also lifted the TSX as Sun Life Financial moved up 59 cents to $36.94.

In earnings news, automaker Ford earned $3-billion, or 74 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2013, but that was largely because of a one-time tax gain. Excluding the gain, net income was 31 cents per share, topping analysts’ forecast of 27 cents. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 3.5 per cent to $37.6-billion and its shares inched one cent higher to $15.72.

Apple shares were down 7.25 per cent to $510.57 (U.S.) even as the company reported its best quarter, hitting new quarterly highs for the sales of its most popular products. But it also delivered a revenue forecast that fell below analysts’ predictions for the current quarter.

Overseas, London’s FTSE 100 index advanced 0.49 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.67 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was up 1.2 per cent.

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