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This is a Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, and U.S. actor Steven Seagal, left, as they watch the first Russian national championship of mixed martial arts in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
This is a Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, and U.S. actor Steven Seagal, left, as they watch the first Russian national championship of mixed martial arts in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

At the open: Stocks climb amid less geopolitical risk, positive China data Add to ...

The Toronto stock market was higher Monday amid a perception of lessening tensions between Ukraine and Russia and reassuring economic data from China.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 56.88 points to 15,253.19.

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.12 of a cent to 91.27 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes were also positive as traders felt more inclined to take on risk following reports Friday that Russia called an end to military exercises near Ukraine and withdrawn troops to their bases.

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The Dow Jones industrials were up 29.35 points to 16,583.28, the Nasdaq climbed 14.36 points to 4,385.26 while the S&P 500 index was ahead 5.13 points to 1,936.72.

Fighting raged in the city of Donetsk as Ukraine government forces closed in on the rebel stronghold and insurgents backed away from a cease-fire offer. There have been worries that Russia might directly intervene in Ukraine’s civil war if it appeared the pro-Russian rebels were in danger of being defeated.

There have also been worries about the effect of sanctions against Russia and counter sanctions, which could seriously damage a still fragile economic recovery in Europe.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, U.S. warplanes attacked Islamic State militants near the northern city of Irbil, capital of the Kurdish region, in hopes of limiting their advance and keeping them away from oil fields.

And China’s consumer price index in July stayed at 2.3 per cent, well below the official target for the year of 3.5 per cent. That gives the central bank room to ease access to credit if needed to shore up economic growth, which was 7.5 per cent in the latest quarter On the corporate front, the group of oil and gas pipeline and storage companies controlled by Kinder Morgan but traded separately will combine and become the 4th biggest U.S. energy company by market value. Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. says the total purchase price of the three other companies is $71-billion (U.S.), including $27-billion of assumed debt.

Gains on the TSX were led by the base metals sector, up 1.07 per cent as the positive news from China helped push September copper up a cent to $3.18 a pound.

The gold sector edged up 0.18 per cent as increased appetite for risk pushed December gold down $2.30 to $1,308.70 an ounce.

The energy sector was ahead 0.3 per cent while September crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 13 cents to $97.78 a barrel.

The financial sector was ahead 0.3 per cent after ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday revised its outlooks to negative from stable on almost all Canadian banks. It comes a week after Ottawa launched a public consultation on its proposed ”bail-in regime,“ which seeks to protect taxpayers from having to foot the bill for bailing out a big bank in the event that it runs into financial trouble.

Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. continued to charge ahead following a U.S. regulatory decision that relaxes safety precautions on the Vancouver-based company’s experimental drug for treating Ebola. Its stock surged $4.75 or 20.65 per cent to $27.75 (Canadian) after jumping 47 per cent on Friday. Tekmira has a $140-million contract from the U.S. government to develop its drug TKM-Ebola but last month a small human trial of the experimental drug was put on hold after safety issues emerged.

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