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Specialist Mark Fitzgerald, left, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Jan. 10. (Richard Drew/AP)
Specialist Mark Fitzgerald, left, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Jan. 10. (Richard Drew/AP)

At midday: TSX rises with materials stocks; Valeant jumps Add to ...

Canada’s benchmark stock index rose in morning trade on Tuesday as materials stocks gained with higher commodity prices and drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc surged as it sold assets.

At 11:49 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 60.84 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 15,449.79.

Shares in Valeant rose 6.8 per cent to $22.14 after the drugmaker said it is selling its Dendreon cancer business and three skincare brands for about $2.12-billion as it looks to pay down its more than $30-billion debt.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.3 per cent as copper prices jumped and gold and silver also gained.

Among the most influential movers on the index were First Quantum Minerals Ltd., which rose 7.6 per cent to $15.51, and Teck Resources Ltd., which added 6.4 per cent to $29.24.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups rose.

Oilfield services company Savanna Energy Services Corp rose 1.4 per cent to $2.13 as it said it would open its books to potential suitors this week.

Gildan Activewear shares gained 3 per cent to $34.43 after it said it won a bankruptcy auction to buy U.S. fashion retailer American Apparel for about $88-million in cash.

Department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co. fell 9.9 per cent to $10.51 after it cut its full-year revenue forecast.

Copper prices advanced 3.1 per cent to $5,763 a ton, while gold futures rose 0.5 per cent to $1,188.9 an ounce.

Canadian housing starts rose more sharply than expected in December and November building permits were also firmer than anticipated, separate reports showed on Tuesday, suggesting Canada’s long housing boom may not be over.

U.S. stocks advanced toward all-time highs as metals jumped amid rising producer prices in China. The dollar and Treasuries were little changed as post-election asset moves stalled a day before Donald Trump is slated to hold a press conference that could elucidate his policy preferences.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average resumed its pursuit of 20,000, while the S&P 500 Index traded two points below an all-time high. Treasuries edged lower, while the dollar slipped versus its G-10 peers. Gold climbed to a five-week high, while copper surged with iron ore after China’s producer price index jumped. Oil slipped below $52 a barrel in New York.

Caution crept into financial markets as the euphoria over Trump’s perceived pro-growth policies faded with Congress holding cabinet confirmation hearings and the president-elect preparing to face the media for the first time since July. The pound has been hit by angst over the implications of Brexit and the Turkish lira extended its retreat to record lows on speculation the nation’s central bank won’t raise interest rates.

“Traders are wary ahead of a media briefing,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst in London at Think Markets U.K. Ltd. They “want to play safe and the yellow metal provides them this safety.”

The S&P 500 advanced 0.2 per cent to 2,274.25 at 11:14 a.m. in New York, after Friday closing at a record. The Dow climbed last week within 0.37 point of 20,000 before fading.

The Europe Stoxx 600 Index edged higher, while the FTSE 100 Index headed for an 11th straight gain in its longest rally since 2011. The index has closed at all-time highs for eight straight days; a ninth would be a record.

Mining shares on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 2.8 per cent to the highest level since Dec. 13.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped less than 0.1 per cent, with the greenback lower by 0.3 percent to 115.66 yen. The euro weakened 0.1 per cent to $1.058.

West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.3 per cent at $52.11 a barrel after sinking 3.8 per cent last session as an increase in U.S. drilling offset signs that OPEC members are sticking to planned output cuts.

Steel and iron ore futures surged to their daily limit in China amid more signs the government intends to squeeze excess capacity, and after the country’s factory-gate inflation reached the highest in five years.

Gold futures advanced 0.2 per cent to $1,187.60 an ounce, with demand forecast to rise ahead of Chinese New Year.

With files from Bloomberg News

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