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The Globe and Mail

At noon: Stocks up amid mixed earnings, strong jobs report

The screens at the TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto show the closing numbers of the TSX on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

The Toronto stock market moved higher at midday Thursday amid a mixed bag of earnings news.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 19.87 points at 12,341.16, pressured by declining mining stocks with sentiment still impaired by a new round of concerns about the pace of growth in the Chinese and American economies.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.05 of a cent to 99.25 cents US.

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Earnings reports and positive employment news helped push New York markets higher after they also lost ground on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 111.39 points to 14,812.34, the Nasdaq was ahead 36.34 points at 3,335.46 and the S&P 500 index was up 14.01 points at 1,596.71.

There was some positive employment news a day before the U.S. government releases its employment report for April.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to seasonally adjusted 324,000, the lowest since January 2008.

General Motors' shares ran up $1.46 to $31.64 (U.S.) as the automaker's net income fell 14 per cent to $865-million or 58 cents a share in the first quarter, weighed down by losses in Europe and weaker earnings in North America. Ex-items, GM earned 67 cents per share, compared with analysts' forecast of 54 cents. Revenue fell 2.3 per cent to $36.9-billion, still slightly ahead of Wall Street's expectation of $36.6-billion.

After the markets closed Wednesday, Facebook said that its quarterly net income was $219-million, or nine cents per share, up from $205-million, also nine cents per share, in the same period a year ago when the company was still private. Its shares rose 83 cents to $28.26.

Tech stocks led decliners as Constellation Software (TSX:CSU) reported that adjusted net income for the quarter increased five per cent to $33-million, $1.57 on a diluted per share basis, from $32-million or $1.50 on a diluted per share basis a year ago. Revenue grew 31 per cent to $256-million but the company noted "the increase is solely attributed to growth from acquisitions as there was no organic growth" and its shares fell $3.23 to $132.67.

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Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:BB) was down 42 cents to $15.47.

Commodity prices were higher after the weak economic data Wednesday pushed prices sharply lower.

But the metals and mining sector was off 0.7 per cent while July copper gained four cents to $3.12 (U.S.) after having tumbled 11 cents Wednesday.

HudBay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM) shed 14 cents to $7.60 after it said it had a profit of $1.9-million, or a penny per diluted share for the three-month period ended March 31, down from $3.4-million or three cents per diluted share a year earlier.

The gold sector was 0.4 per cent lower while June bullion recovered most of Wednesday's loss, up $23.70 to US$1,469.90 an ounce.

Goldcorp (TSX:G) earned $309-million compared to $479-million in the first quarter of 2012. Adjusted net earnings totalled $253-million, or 31 cents per share, compared with $404-million or 50 cents per share a year ago. Revenues came in at $1-billion and Goldcorp shares faded 54 cents to $28.53.

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The energy component was slightly lower even as the June crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 50 cents to $91.53 a barrel.

The consumer discretionary sector led TSX advancers as clothing manufacturer Gildan Activewear (TSX:GIL) reported net earnings of US$72.3-million or 59 cents per share on a diluted basis, exceeding its earlier guidance of 54 to 57 cents per share. Net sales rose more than eight per cent to US$503-million. It also upgraded its outlook for the year and its shares rose 60 cents to $41.65.

Industrials also advanced with Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) ahead $2.06 to $125.22.

Elsewhere, Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) stock gained $1.37 to $46.12 as it said it is going to include the structural integrity of buildings in audits of suppliers in the wake of the collapse of a building in Bangladesh that housed one of the company's suppliers. More than 400 people were killed when the building collapsed last week. One of the factories in the building produced a small number of items for Loblaw's Joe Fresh clothing line.

Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) posted net income of $540-million or 28 cents a share, down sharply from $1.22-billion a year ago as insurance sales fell 23 per cent to $619-million. Core earnings for the quarter at Canada's largest life insurer were up 18 per cent to $619-million, or 32 Canadian cents per share, which matched expectations. Its shares rose 62 cents to $15.38.

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC) shares slipped $1.62 to $41.83 after posting a first-quarter profit of $53.6-million, down from $66-million a year ago. Revenue totalled $1.9-billion, up from $1.79-billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has cut its key rate to hopefully help the eurozone shake off the deep economic malaise that has set in as a result of its government debt crisis.

The ECB cut its key rate to 0.5 per cent from 0.75 per cent.

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