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The close: Stocks recover in afternoon rally Add to ...

Stocks rebounded in afternoon trading on Monday, after recovering from slight declines earlier in the day as investors weighed the start of earnings season against some disappointing U.S. economic reports last week.

The S&P 500 closed at 1563.07, up 9.79 points or 0.6 per cent – marking a recovery of more than 14 points from its intraday low. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,613.48, up 48.23 points or 0.3 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,349.70, up 17.85 points or 0.1 per cent.

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While economic news was light, the moves follow a couple of big disappointments last week – in the form of weak manufacturing activity and payrolls growth in March.

However, there were glimmers of optimism overseas. Germany’s industrial production in February rebounded, and extraordinary stimulus measures from Japan’s central bank – designed to rescue the economy from years of deflationary pressures – sent the Nikkei 225 to a five-year high.

Meanwhile, the trading session preceded the start of the first-quarter earnings season for U.S. companies – though expectations are low.

Alcoa Inc. kicked things off after markets closed on Monday, reporting quarterly earnings of 11 cents (U.S.) a share, beating analysts’ estimates of 8 cents a share. However, the aluminum maker’s sales of $5.83-billion missed expectations slightly. Alcoa shares rose 1.8 per cent during regular trading, but were down 1.2 per cent in after hours trading.

General Electric Co. rose 0.8 per cent after it announced a $3.3-billion (U.S.) deal to acquire Lufkin Industries Inc., allowing GE to expand its oil and gas drilling capabilities.

Among key commodities, crude oil rose to $93.45 a barrel, up 75 cents. Gold fell to $1,572.30 an ounce, down $3.60. Among Canadian commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.1 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.4 per cent.

Royal Bank of Canada fell 0.3 per cent – suggesting that while some Canadians are angry at the bank’s efforts to outsource some jobs, investors aren’t concerned. Toronto-Dominion Bank also fell 0.3 per cent.

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