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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) May 18, 2017. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) May 18, 2017. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

At midday: TSX reverses course with rebound in financial stocks Add to ...

Canada’s main stock index turned positive after hitting a five-month low in morning trade on Thursday, boosted by a rebound in heavyweight financial stocks, while mining stocks were lower, along with prices of commodity metals.

Shares of the country’s largest bank, Royal Bank of Canada , rose 1.3 per cent to $92.67 and its biggest life insurer, Manulife Financial Corp, jumped 1.3 per cent to $23 a day after the financial sector slid on worries that U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-business economic agenda could be slowed by political scandals.

At 11:30 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 14.47 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 15,288.15.

It had earlier fallen to 15,164.73, its lowest level since Dec. 7.

Six of the 10 main sectors were higher, although decliners slightly outnumbered advancers.

The index’s materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 1.4 per cent.

The Trump uncertainty continued to weigh on copper prices, which hit a one-week low, as expectations of U.S. infrastructure spending plans were undermined.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd declined 2.1 per cent to $11.62 and HudBay Minerals Inc shed 1.8 per cent to $7.11.

Gold prices edged lower after notching their biggest one-day spike since Britain voted to leave the European Union on Wednesday.

Barrick Gold lost 2.3 per cent to $22.73 and Goldcorp Inc fell 2.7 per cent to $18.89.

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U.S. stocks rose as upbeat economic data emboldened investors to return to the market on Thursday, a day after Wall Street suffered its worst selloff in eight months following a political crisis involving President Donald Trump.

Reports that Trump had tried to intervene in an ongoing federal investigation cast a shadow on his presidency and the future of his pro-growth agenda.

Wall Street rebounded after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its business activity index unexpectedly rose in May after declining for the past two months. Weekly unemployment data also pointed to strength in the labor market.

“Even if we have a big, prolonged mess in Washington, it’s not going to necessarily hurt the economy,” said Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust in Wilmington, Del.

“As long as the economy holds up, I think the market is going to brush off what is going on in Washington.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 45.66 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 20,652.59, the S&P 500 was up 8.1 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 2,365.13 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 38.40 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 6,049.63.

Investors saw an opportunity to pick up beaten down stocks.

“I’m not concerned, just yet, that we’re on the cusp of a major breakdown in the market. From a very short term perspective this is a very good buying opportunity,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management LLC in Chicago, Illinois.

The S&P 500 financials and technology sectors, which were the worst hit on Wednesday, rebounded to give the biggest boost to the broader index.

Apple was up 1.5 per cent after registering its steepest decline in over a year.

Cisco tumbled 7.5 per cent after the networking gear maker forecast current-quarter revenue that came in below analysts’ estimates.

Wal-Mart was up 2.2 per cent at $76.81 after the big-box retailer’s quarterly earnings beat analysts’ expectations.

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