North American stocks rose at the start of trading on Thursday, following some upbeat U.S. retail sales for February, in-line weekly jobless claims and a warm reception to the latest Canadian Big Bank earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72 points or 0.6 per cent, to 13,024. The broader S&P 500 rose 8 points or 0.6 per cent, to 1,374. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 36 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,680.
Before the start of trading, the U.S. Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell slightly to 351,000 from a revised 353,000, which was close to expectations.
Royal Bank of Canada rose 2.2 per cent after its slight dip in quarterly earnings nonetheless topped expectations. Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 1.4 per cent after reporting its earnings. Both banks raised their dividends.
Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.3 per cent, even as the price of gold found some stability at $1,716 (U.S.) an ounce, up $5. Gold fell sharply on Wednesday, dragging down gold producers with it.
Gap Inc. surged 9.6 per cent after the retailer reported that sales at stores open for at least one year rose 6 per cent in February, over last year.
U.S. banks were also strong, with Bank of America Corp. up 1.8 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. up 1.7 per cent.