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North American stocks rose at the start of trading on Wednesday, with another jump in gold prices putting Canada's S&P/TSX composite index on track to post its third consecutive gain.

The index rose 117 points or 1 per cent, to 12,117. Gold rose to $1237 (U.S.) an ounce, up $17, and at a new intraday record high. The move sent Barrick Gold Corp. up 1.1 per cent and Goldcorp Inc. up 0.5 per cent.

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Energy stocks were also higher, even though the price of crude oil was stable, at $76.35 a barrel. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.5 per cent and Canadian Oil Sands Trust rose 0.8 per cent.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 47 points or 0.4 per cent, to 10,796. The broader S&P 500 rose 3 points or 0.3 per cent, to 1159.

Morgan Stanley fell 4.6 per cent after U.S. prosecutors said they were investigating the company over its role in the financial crisis. Other financials were also weak, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. falling 1.1 per cent.

In other moves, Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc. rose 1.6 per cent each. Intel Corp. rose 1.5 per cent, but Walt Disney Co. fell 0.6 per cent after it reported strong gains in its overall earnings, but weaker-than-expected results in its parks and resorts division.

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