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People walk along Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange July 13, 2007. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
People walk along Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange July 13, 2007. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

The close: S&P 500 hits fresh four-month high Add to ...

Stocks turned in solid gains on Thursday following a strong report on U.S. building permits.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,250.11, up 85.33 points or 0.7 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1415.15, up 9.98 points or 0.7 per cent – marking its highest level since early April. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,032.58, up 127.14 points or 1.1 per cent.

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The Commerce Department reported that building permits rose 6.8 per cent last month, suggesting that building activity could be on the rise. The report overshadowed a setback in building starts, which fell 1.1 per cent.

Earlier, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose by 2,000 for the period ended last week, to 366,000 – a number that was in line with expectations.

Cisco Systems Inc. rose 9.6 per cent after its quarterly sales topped analysts’ expectations.

Facebook Inc. fell 6.3 per cent, with some of the company’s corporate insiders now free to sell their holdings of the stock.

Barrick Gold Corp. rose 3.9 per cent following its announcement that it was in talks to sell its African assets to China National Gold Group Corp. also helped the sector.

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