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Traders work at their posts on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP)
Traders work at their posts on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP)

The close: Commodities boost TSX, crude oil surges Add to ...

Resource stocks helped give the Toronto stock market a solid lift Thursday as commodity prices picked up on hopes that central bankers are ready to help with stimulus in the future.

Oil in particular got a lift from rising tensions in the Mideast, pushing prices past the $92 (U.S.) level.

The S&P/TSX composite index ran up 86.54 points to 11,665.7, while the TSX Venture Exchange added 8.54 points to 1,190.87.

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The Canadian dollar was up 0.29 of a cent to 99.23 cents (U.S.).

U.S. markets came off session highs after data showed sales of existing homes in June fell by 5.4 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million, much lower than the 4.65 million that was expected.

The Dow Jones industrials gained 34.66 points to 12,943.36.

The Nasdaq composite index was ahead 23.3 points to 2,965.9, while the S&P 500 index rose 3.73 points to 1,376.51.

Strong earnings news also supported New York indexes.

IBM had reported after the close Wednesday that quarterly earnings rose six per cent to mark the 38th consecutive quarter that IBM’s net income has climbed from the previous year.

Without accounting charges for past acquisitions and the company’s pension, IBM said it would have earned $3.51 per share, beating expectations by eight cents a share. IBM stock ran ahead $7.09 to $195.34.

Morgan Stanley was a disappointment. Net income rose to $564-million, or 29 cents a share, missing expectations by three cents. Revenue tumbled 24 per cent to $7-billion and its stock was down 74 cents to $13.25.

Microsoft Corp. was in focus as the software giant handed in its first-ever quarterly loss after the close because of an accounting adjustment to reflect a weak online ad business.

The charge led to a $492-million loss in the April to June quarter, or six cents a share. Excluding extraordinary items, Microsoft reported a profit of 73 cents a share, higher than the 62 cents analysts expected. Its shares were up 1.58 per cent in after-hours trading.

In Canadian earnings news, Nexen Inc.’s net income fell 57 per cent from a year ago to $109-million (Canadian) in the second quarter, a bigger decline than analysts had been estimating.

Nexen earned 20 cents per share, which was seven cents per share below estimates. Nexen said the latest quarter’s results were hurt by the unsuccessful Kakuna exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico and its stock added a penny to $17.44.

Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of $149-million, or 71 cents per share, up 4.4 per cent from the same time last year and a penny ahead of estimates. Its shares improved by 41 cents to $43.07.

The base metals sector climbed 4.42 per cent while copper, viewed as an economic bellwether as it is used in so many industries, ran ahead six cents to $3.53 a pound. Thompson Creek Metals Co. was 26 cents higher to $2.89 while First Quantum Minerals ran up $1.68 to $18.28.

Oil traded at seven-month highs amid rising tensions in the Middle East. The oil market is concerned once again that Iran will try to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway in the Persian Gulf through, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil travels every day. On Wednesday Israel blamed Iran for an attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, and vowed to strike back.

The energy sector was up 1.61 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. climbed 39 cents to $30.59 and Canadian Natural Resources advanced 91 cents to $28.98.

The gold sector advanced 0.77 per cent as bullion prices also rose, up $9.60 to $1,580.40 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. was up 74 cents to $33.60.

The strong IBM results boosted the tech sector by 1.23 per cent. Open Text gained 74 cents to $48.90 while CGI Group was ahead 34 cents to $24.33.

Financials also supported the TSX and Manulife Financial ran up 14 cents to $10.86.

The telecom sector was the weakest group with Telus Corp. down 58 cents to $62.11.

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