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At midday: TSX up by nearly triple digits in broad-based advance

TMX Group Inc. signage is displayed on a screen in the broadcast center of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011.

Norm Betts/Bloomberg

The Toronto stock market continued to climb Friday amid stronger than expected financial results from smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd. and expectations that China will move to counter its economic slowdown.

The S&P/TSX composite index moved ahead 98.40 points to 14,277.24. The Canadian dollar fell 0.19 of a cent to 90.46.

BlackBerry reported a loss of US$423 million or 80 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared with a profit of $98 million or 19 cents per diluted share a year ago.

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However, excluding several one-time items, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) said it had an adjusted loss from continuing operations of $42 million or eight cents per share for the quarter.

Analysts, on average, had expected a loss of 55 cents per share, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters. Shares in the Waterloo, Ont., company rose three per cent, or 31 cents, to $10.27 by mid-day.

All sectors on the Toronto Stock Exchange were in the green, with gold and metals and mining stocks emerging as the leading advancers.

Wall Street was positive as the Dow Jones industrials gained 114.73 points to 16,378.96, the Nasdaq rose 41.24 points to 4,192.47 and the S&P 500 index jumped 14.56 points to 1,863.60.

Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist with TD Waterhouse, said many analysts expects 2014 to be "the year of convergence" between the TSX and the New York markets, as resource stocks see a bit of a lift.

"We're having a bit of a pop to the upside," he said. "There's not a lot of strong storylines but it just reflects a little bit of a bounce from recent weakness, more than anything else."

Meanwhile, investors were digesting the latest figures from the U.S. that showed the economy there is progressing at a moderate pace.

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The U.S. Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.3 per cent in February following a 0.2 per cent rise in January, helped by a surge in spending on utility bills.

In February, spending on durable goods such as autos dropped as consumers stayed away from auto dealerships.

This data followed other figures this week that showed the U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 per cent annual rate from October to December, slightly more than previously estimated. Meanwhile, jobless claims fell 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the lowest since late November and a hopeful sign that hiring could pick up.

But this strength did not translate to home purchases. It was reported that the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell for the eighth straight month in February, indicating that home sales could slow over the next few months.

Overseas, expectations rose on that more stimulus will be pumped into China, as that country saw its growth slowed to its weakest level since the financial crisis.

China has set a target of 7.5 per cent economic growth this year but is more concerned about ensuring sufficient new jobs are created than precisely meeting the GDP figure.

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In commodities, oil gained 82 cents to $102.08, while gold prices lost ground with the June contract fading $1.90 to US$1,292.90 an ounce. May copper climbed 5 cents to US$3.04 a pound.

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