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Toronto stock market closes higher amid strong manufacturing, employment data

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market racked up a solid gain Wednesday amid rising hopes for a strong reading on U.S. job creation as traders also caught up with two positive manufacturing reports that were released while the TSX was closed for Canada Day.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 63.78 points to 15,209.79 after data showed that Chinese manufacturing grew in June for the first time in six months. In the U.S., the manufacturing sector showed a 13th straight month of growth.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.03 of a cent to 93.75 cents US.

U.S. indexes put in lacklustre performances but the Dow Jones industrials and the S&P 500 again closed at fresh record highs. The Dow was up 20.17 points to 16,976.24 and the S&P 500 gained 1.3 points to 1,974.62. The Nasdaq was 0.92 of a point lower at 4,457.73.

Traders were cautious ahead of the other major economic event for the week — the release Thursday of the U.S. government's employment report for June.

Ahead of that data, U.S. payrolls firm ADP reported that the private sector created 281,000 jobs in June, much higher than the 205,000 reading that had been forecast. That raised hopes the government figures would show the American economy cranked out more than the 210,000 jobs in the public and private sector that economists have forecast.

"Clearly, now the market is going to set up for a bullish number," said Wes Mills, chief investment officer at Scotia Private Client Group.

"It does seem risk-on is coming back. People have been reluctant to fully endorse this rally and we know the fears that have popped up, whether it's Ukraine or China or more recently this Iraq business. But it does seem the market is shaking all of these things off."

In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon said he has curable throat cancer. Dimon said he plans to remain on the job and be actively involved in key decisions while undergoing treatment. Despite the reassurance, Dimon’s illness could raise leadership concerns at one of the world’s biggest banks. The bank's shares declined 60 cents to US$56.97.

In Canada, shares in Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSX:CP) (NYSE:CP) were 10 cents higher to C$193.41 after the carrier was upgraded by equities research analysts at CIBC from a "sector perform" rating to an "outperform" rating. Earlier this week, analysts at Barclays raised their price target on shares of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. from US$168 to US$196. The shares rose $1.19 to US$181.39 in New York.

TSX advancers were led by the base metals component, up 3.85 per cent as July copper gained six cents to US$3.27 a pound.

The information technology sector was up 1.21 per cent as BlackBerry (TSX:BB) ran up 45 cents or 4.11 per cent to $11.39. The stock has surged lately, up about 40 per cent in the past month amid strong quarterly financial results and enthusiasm over its new product. BlackBerry's Passport, which meets somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet in size, is scheduled to launch in Europe this September

The gold sector shook off early declines to move 0.2 up per cent while August bullion rose $4 to US$1,330.60 an ounce.

The energy sector was ahead 0.3 per cent with August crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 86 cents to a three-week low of US$105.08 a barrel. Prices had drifted higher to almost US$107 in June amid a growing insurgency in Iraq, but have since fallen the fighting has stayed well away from the south where most of Iraq's oil production is located.

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