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The Globe and Mail

At the open: TSX higher as traders weigh U.S. earnings

In a Tuesday, July 10, 2012, file photo, traders work at the start of early trading at the New York stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slid for a sixth day Thursday, July 12, 2012, as concern spread that weaker global economic growth and the European debt crisis will hurt U.S. corporate earnings.

Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

The Toronto stock market moved higher shortly after open on Tuesday as traders weighed the latest comments from Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney and a round of U.S. earnings reports.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 142.67 points to 12,372.63 on strength across every sector led by gold and materials stocks. The TSX Venture Exchange gained 12.93 points to 1,295.66.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.55 of a cent to 101.49, deepening its earlier decline of 0.25 of a cent.

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Late Monday afternoon, a speech by Carney left economists debating the importance of his leaving out an often-repeated phrase that "modest withdrawal of the present considerable monetary policy stimulus may become appropriate."

Scotiabank chief currency strategist Camilla Sutton said Carney's decision to drop the more hawkish tones reinforced the notion that global economic uncertainty is having an effect on Canada.

"Accordingly, in line with our expectations, it is likely that the BoC adopts a more neutral stance at its upcoming meeting," she wrote in a note.

The central bank's pronouncements are closely watched by economists as a signal of change in interest rate policies, which can affect currency rates.

"The domestic impact is being felt on exports, capital expenditures and employment, but since Canada is viewed as an attractive investment destination capital inflows are pushing up the value of the Canadian dollar," Sutton added.

In commodities, oil prices were lower with the November contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 27 cents to US$91.58 a barrel.

Copper prices lifted with the December contact up 1.5 cents at US$3.72 a pound.

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December gold bullion rose $7.20 to US$1,744.80 an ounce, while TSX gold stocks were up two per cent.

On Wall Street, a flurry of earnings reports gave traders much to chew on, with details from major companies in the health-care, banking and consumer industries reporting quarterly results. The Dow Jones industrials rose 68.95 points to 13,493.18, the Nasdaq composite index added 8.20 points to 3,081.38 and the S&P 500 index was up 6.58 points to 1,446.71.

Mattel and UnitedHealth posted strong results for the third quarter. Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson both beat Wall Street expectations. Coca-Cola Co. said its net income rose three per cent.

IBM, the CSX railway and Intel will report after the bell.

Meanwhile, the Labour Department said that U.S. consumer prices rose 0.6 per cent in September because of more expensive gas.

Citigroup investors were stunned to learn Tuesday that Vikram Pandit stepped down as CEO, after steering the bank through the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Pandit's replacement as CEO is Michael Corbat, the current CEO of Citigroup's Europe, Middle East and Africa division, the bank said.

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Also in the news is a plan by Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) to cut about 700 jobs at its operations, mostly in administration and management, as it looks to cut costs. Loblaw shares rose 45 cents to $34.33.

Overseas, an improvement in investors' confidence helped boost the euro, which often rises along with market sentiment. It was trading 0.4 per cent higher at $1.3009.

The euro has also garnered support from expectations that Spain will soon make a request to tap a European Central Bank bond-buying facility and that Greece will get its next batch of bailout funds.

The problems of both debt-ridden countries are likely to feature at a meeting of EU leaders later this week.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.96 per cent at 5,862 while Germany's DAX rose 1.3 per cent to 7,358. The CAC-40 in France was 1.9 per cent higher at 3,486.

Earlier, Asian stocks closed higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.4 per cent to end at 8,701.31 and South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.8 per cent to 1,941.54.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3 per cent to 21,207.07 but mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index ended the day almost unchanged at 2,098.81. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index closed 0.3 per cent higher at 862.14.

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