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North American stocks nudged slightly higher at the start of trading on Friday, with several strong earnings reports weighing against a disappointing reading on U.S. economic growth in the first quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11 points or 0.1 per cent, to 13,216. The broader S&P 500 rose less than 1 point, to 1,400. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 26 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,172.

U.S. gross domestic product rose 2.2 per cent at an annualized pace in the first quarter, slower growth than the 2.5 per cent rise that economists had been expecting. However, some observers noted that a significant cut in defense spending was largely to blame, while domestic demand picked up.

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Meanwhile, the latest round of quarterly reports tended to boost stocks. Inc. surged 14.6 per cent after its revenues jumped 34 per cent. Merck & Co. Inc. rose 0.6 per cent after its net earnings rose 67 per cent.

In Canada, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.4 per cent and Royal Bank of Canada fell 0.1 per cent, but Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.7 per cent.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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