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Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. (BRENDAN McDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. (BRENDAN McDERMID/REUTERS)

At the open: S&P 500 enters record territory; TSX flat Add to ...

The S&P 500 Index touched the 1,900 point mark for the first time Tuesday morning.

The index ran up to 1,901.03 before pulling back to 1,900.03, despite lower-than-expected U.S. retail figures.

In Toronto, positive earnings reports helped send the Toronto stock market slightly higher Tuesday.

The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 20.72 points to 14,675.66.

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The Canadian dollar was up 0.02 of a cent to 91.79 cents (U.S.).

The U.S. Commerce Department said retail sales rose a disappointing 0.1 per cent last month, after surging 1.5 per cent in March following a harsh winter that had curtailed shopping. Auto sales increased 0.6 per cent in April, and purchases at clothing stores were up 1.2 per cent. But most of those gains were offset by declines in spending at restaurants, online retailers, furniture and electronics stores.

The Dow Jones industrials climbed 30.3 points to 16,725.77 while the Nasdaq rose 1.24 points to 4,145.1.

On Tuesday, oil and gas producer Encana Corp. posted first-quarter net earnings of $116-million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $431-million, or 59 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2013. The Calgary company said it had revenue of $1.89-billion compared with $1.06-billion year-over-year. The company’s cash flow nearly doubled to $1.09-billion, or $1.48 per share and its shares ran ahead $1.14, or 4.6 per cent, to $25.74.

Manitoba Telecom Services reports first-quarter earnings of $41.9-million, or 54 cents per share, up 35.6 per cent year-over-year. MTS had revenues of $401.5-million versus $406.7-million year-over-year. Its shares slipped five cents to $31.31.

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust said that quarterly funds from operations rose two per cent to $127-million or 42 cents per unit. Its shares dipped one cent to $27.68.

Shares in home improvement retailer Rona Inc. added two cents to 410.95 as the company lost $16.6-million or 14 cents per share in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $36.1-million or 30 cents per share a year ago. Revenue fell to $764.3-million, down from $832.9-million.

In other corporate developments, Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said it plans to improve its offer for Botox-maker Allergan. The U.S. company on Monday rejected Valeant’s $48-billion (U.S.) hostile takeover bid, saying it undervalued Allergan. Valeant said in a letter to Allergan shareholders that it will outline the improved offer during a webcast/conference call May 28. Valeant shares were 14 cents lower at $141.84.

The telecom sector was up 0.5 per cent with Telus ahead 43 cents to $40.43 (Canadian).

On the commodity markets, June crude in New York gained 65 cents to $101.24 (U.S.) a barrel and the energy sector was ahead 0.45 per cent.

The base metals sector was up 0.15 per cent as July copper slipped a penny at $3.14 after running up over two per cent Monday.

The gold sector was flat while June bullion edged up 80 cents to $1,296.60 an ounce.

In other economic news, a German survey of investment professionals has found that optimism fell in May for the fifth month in a row, a sign that growth in Europe’s biggest economy may be slowing.

The ZEW indicator fell to 33.1 from 43.2 in April. The decline was bigger than anticipated – the consensus in the markets was for a more modest drop to 40.0.

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