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People walk outside the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading on August 8, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People walk outside the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading on August 8, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The open: Investors pin hopes on U.S. Add to ...

Global stock markets from Tokyo to Toronto registered small gains on Tuesday, with North American indices up in advance of some key U.S. economic data.

U.S. markets reopened higher after the Memorial Day holiday, continuing their rise from last week. The S&P 500 index gained 9.02 points, to 1,326.84 points and the Dow Jones industrial average increased by 89.53 points to 12,544.36 points.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX rose 49.09 points, to 11,615.24 points, with the number of advancing stocks matching declining issues. Bank of Nova Scotia shares slipped 0.3 per cent after the lender reported earnings for the second quarter that topped analyst expectations. Shares of both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway were down about 2 per cent.

Markets will likely take direction from a report at 10 a.m. ET measuring the latest level of U.S. consumer confidence. Economists expect it to rise, aided in part by an increase in jobs and falling gasoline prices.

Update: The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence dropped to 64.9 this month, down from a revised 68.7 in April and short of the 69.5 expected by economists. The results reflect the third consecutive monthly decline in consumer sentiment.

Meanwhile, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, a measure of U.S. property values, matched expectations, falling 2.6 per cent in the 12 months ending in March. The decrease was the smallest in more than a year, leading to some speculation that the U.S. housing sector may be on the verge of a recovery.

The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasury notes slipped 2 basis points to 1.73 per cent, as investors worried about the mounting financial risk in Europe directed more funds into low-risk holdings.

Commodity prices are getting support from news that China is prepared to use more subsidies to try to stimulate economic growth.

Copper rose almost 1 per cent to $3.48 (U.S.) a pound. The price of a barrel of oil increased by 19 cents to $91.05. Gold gained $4.40 an ounce to trade at $1,573.30. The loonie slipped a small fraction of a cent against the U.S. dollar, hitting 97.60 cents in early trading.

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