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North American stocks rose at the start of trading on Thursday after investors took the latest evidence of a global recession (U.S. weekly jobless claims up, Germany's economy contracts for the second straight quarter) as old news that had already been factored into the stock market.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85 points, or 1 per cent, to 8368. Alcoa Inc. rose 4.4 per cent, Chevron Corp. rose 2.6 per cent and Merck & Co. Inc. On the downside, Hewlett-Packard Co. fell 2.9 per cent and Intel Corp. fell 1.4 per cent after the chip-maker warned a drop in sales in the next quarter. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which beat expectations with its third quarter results but lowered guidance for the fourth quarter, was relatively unchanged at the start of trading.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 102 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 9024, with commodity producers providing most of the lift (even though the price of crude oil and gold relatively unchanged). Among energy producers, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 2.8 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose 2.7 per cent.  Among gold producers, Barrick Gold Corp. rose 3 per cent.

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Financials were mixed, with Royal Bank of Canada up 1.5 per cent but Bank of Montreal down 0.1 per cent. Research In Motion Ltd. fell 2.2 per cent.

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