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Neil Catania, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Warnings of weaker sales from two major companies and concern that the Federal Reserve could ease off its support for the economy sent the stock market spiraling lower Thursday. (Richard Drew/AP)
Neil Catania, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Warnings of weaker sales from two major companies and concern that the Federal Reserve could ease off its support for the economy sent the stock market spiraling lower Thursday. (Richard Drew/AP)

The close: Wall Street slammed but TSX rises on gold, telecom stocks Add to ...

The Toronto stock market ignored a big downturn on Wall Street on Thursday and focused on stronger commodity prices to climb higher.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 65.22 points to close at 12,704.52.

The Canadian dollar rose 0.23 of a cent to 97.05 cents US.

Driving the market higher were gold stocks as December bullion rose $27.50 to end at $1,360.90 (U.S.) an ounce. September copper fell 2.5 cents to $3.34 a pound.

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Iamgold Corp.rose 11 per cent to $6.66.

The September crude contract rose 48 cents to settle at $107.33 (U.S.) a barrel as supply concerns returned following renewed unrest in Egypt.

Egypt is not an oil producer but its control of the Suez canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes that links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.

The TSX went higher despite fears from U.S. traders that the Federal Reserve will begin its tapering plan next month in response to a strengthening economy.

Improved sentiment pushed U.S. Treasury yields to their highest level in two years as traders anticipate the Fed will reduce its $85-billion-a-month monetary stimulus in September, a move that is expected to lead to a rise in the cost of borrowing. The benchmark 10-year note topped 2.8 per cent for the first time since August 2011.

“People are viewing that rates are going to go higher,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

“I don’t see anything on the horizon that changes people’s viewpoint.”

On Wall Street, the Dow fell 225.47 points to 15,112.19, the Nasdaq dropped 63.16 points to 3,606.12 and the S&P 500 slid 24.07 points to 1,661.32.

The sharp decline came as some good news emerged about the U.S. economy. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a six-year low of 320,000.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart added to the sentiment that retailers are in for a tough last half of the year. The big-box retailer cut its outlook for the year and reported disappointing quarterly numbers, just as department store Macy’s did on a day earlier.

Wal-Mart shares lost 2.6 per cent to $74.41.

Telecom stocks were higher on the TSX, rising 2.8 per cent after a report in the Globe and Mail said Verizon is setting aside its pursuit of smaller wireless players Wind Mobile and Mobilicity, choosing to wait until after a government wireless spectrum auction in January.

Telus shares rose 4.8 per cent to $32.21, while Rogers Communications was up $1.95 to $42.45.

Canadian Pacific Railway said it will appeal a legal order from the Quebec government that is holding the company responsible for the cleanup and some of the financial impact of the Lac-Megantic disaster in Quebec. That legal notice demands that the companies follow a provincial law that holds businesses accountable for the financial impact of an environmental disaster. Canadian Pacific shares fell $1.60 to $124.84.

Stock in Intertape Polymer Group Inc. soared nearly 19 per cent in the wake of a strong earnings report and a big increase in the company’s dividend.

Late Wednesday the company reported it earned $15.1-million US, reversing a loss of $3.9-million in the same period a year earlier. The company’s shares closed up $2.21 to $14 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Yellow Media Ltd. said the chairman of its board of directors will take on the CEO’s role temporarily as the publishing company continues to search for a permanent replacement for Marc Tellier, who vacates the position Thursday. Shares of the company rose 30 cents to $12.50.

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