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The Globe and Mail

At the open: Stocks advance on stimulus hopes

Specialist Mike Pistillo, left, and trader Gregory Rowe, right, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, May 17, 2012.

Richard Drew/AP

The Toronto stock market rose as traders looked to a speech later in the morning by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and a signal from the Bank of Canada that it still would like interest rates to rise eventually.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 43.62 points to 11,564.8.

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.1 of a cent to 98.65 U.S. cents after the Bank of Canada said it was keeping its key rate unchanged at one per cent. The bank also maintained language in its accompanying statement which signalled an eventual tightening bias, indicating that rates would rise at some point.

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The Dow Jones industrials gained 64.64 points to 12,791.85, the Nasdaq composite index ran ahead 15.42 points to 2,912.36 and the S&P 500 index rose 5.69 points to 1,359.33.

Oil was ahead 72 cents to $89.15 (U.S.).

Goldman Sachs rose 2 per cent to $99.59 after reporting earnings that beat expectations, the latest financial company to rally on results. Coca-Cola Co, which also topped consensus forecasts, gained 2.6 per cent to $78.45.

Mr. Bernanke is testifying before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee at 10:00 a.m., and while recent indications have suggested the Fed won't announce another round of quantitative easing unless economic conditions deteriorate further, the comments will still be closely monitored.

Yahoo Inc. rose 0.6 per cent to $15.75 after naming Marissa Mayer, a now-former top executive at Google Inc., as its new chief executive. The company has cycled through three CEOs in a year.

U.S. consumer prices were flat in June, as expected, as the cost of gasoline dropped, offering some relief for cash-strapped Americans and scope for the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy further to help the faltering recovery.

Morgan Stanley cut its 2012 U.S. auto sales projections by about 3 per cent and cut its profit outlook for the sector due to weak sales.

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– With files from Reuters

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