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At the open: TSX advances amid strong earnings news

The tail wing of a model Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft is pictured at the Boeing booth at the Singapore Airshow.

EDGAR SU

The Toronto stock market was higher Wednesday amid a multi-billion dollar deal in the telecom sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 10.89 points to 15,326.02.

BCE Inc. is privatizing affiliate Bell Aliant in a deal worth roughly $3.95-billion. The telecom giant already controls 44 per cent of the regional telecommunications company.

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Bell Aliant shareholders will receive cash and BCE shares for a combined value of $31 per share. BCE shares were up 24 cents to $49.25 while Bell Aliant shot up $3 to $31.19.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.07 of a cent to 93.21 cents (U.S.) amid a better than expected showing in retail sales during May. Statistics Canada reported that retail sales rose 0.7 per cent during May, which was higher than the 0.6 per cent hike that economists had expected.

U.S. markets were mainly lower despite a run of generally positive earnings.

The Dow Jones industrials lost 50.4 points to 17,063.14, the Nasdaq gained 2.95 points to 4,458.96 and the S&P 500 index slipped 0.72 of a point to 1,982.81.

Boeing reported a profit of $1.65-billion, or $2.24 a share, up 52 per cent from a year earlier and beating estimates of $2.01 a share. Revenue of $22.05 narrowly missed expectations of $22.23-billion and its shares slipped 1.56 per cent to $127.71 even as Boeing boosted its earnings guidance for the year.

Shares in Apple and Microsoft were higher after they posted better-than-expected earnings reports after the close of markets Tuesday.

Apple Inc. reported a 12 per cent increase in its quarterly profit, exceeding analysts' estimate. The company said its iPhone shipments rose 13 per cent over a year earlier and its shares gained 0.8 per cent to $95.49.

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And Microsoft's CEO painted a rosy vision for the company's future after saying its profit excluding costs related to the absorption of Nokia was higher than forecasts. Microsoft shares added a penny to $44.84.

Traders also kept an eye on simmering tensions between Russia and the West as Ukraine's Defence Ministry said two Ukrainian military fighter jets have been shot down in the eastern part of the country.

There was relief on markets Tuesday after the European Union stopped well short of moving to jump to so-called Phase 3 sanctions that could cripple the Russian economy and possibly derail a fragile European economic recovery. They did agree to expand a list of Russian organizations and individuals subject to asset freezes and travel bans and threatened further action if Moscow did not act swiftly to rein in the pro-Russian rebels blamed for shooting down a Malaysian airliner last week.

On the TSX, the metals and mining sector was ahead 0.5 per cent with September copper unchanged at $3.21 (U.S.) a pound.

The energy sector climbed 0.2 per cent while September crude oil in New York rose 32 cents to $102.71 a barrel.

The gold sector was also ahead 0.2 per cent as August gold gained 50 cents to $1,306.80 an ounce.

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