The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Toronto stock market advances, up for week amid strong earnings reports

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TORONTO - Gold stocks and financials helped give the Toronto stock market a lift Friday amid a rebound for U.S. durable goods orders and gold prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 60.59 points to finish at a record high close of 15,455.04.

The gold sector was ahead about 3.3 per cent as the August gold contract gained $12.50 to US$1,303.30 an ounce after three days of losses.

The financials sector was up 0.59 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar shed 0.6 of a cent to 92.47 cents US as the greenback strengthened in the wake of U.S. data showing that orders for durable goods increased by 0.7 per cent during June.

U.S. markets were lower after earning disappointments from online retailer Amazon and Visa. The Dow Jones industrials dropped 123.23 points to close at 16,960.57 while the Nasdaq fell 22.55 points to finish at 4,449.56. The S&P 500 index lost 9.64 points to close at 1,978.34.

Amazon shares plunged 9.65 per cent to US$324.01 after posting a quarterly loss of US$126 million, or 27 cents per share, 14 cents worse than estimates. Revenue rose 23 per cent, but operating expenses also rose by a similar percentage.

Shares in Visa, which is closely watched because of its heavy exposure to U.S. and global consumer spending, dropped 3.58 per cent to $214.77 as the global payments technology company trimmed its forecast for annual revenue growth.

The Toronto stock market finished the week up 188.47 points or 1.24 per cent on positive Chinese manufacturing data and a series of positive earnings reports from Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR), Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) and Loblaw Co. Ltd. (TSX:L). The Dow shed 132 points or 0.8 per cent.

Traders are optimistic ahead of next week as many of the big names in the Canadian resource sector prepare to report their second-quarter results.

"It's pretty solid by and large; hard to complain," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

"If in Q1 we saw TSX earnings up around six per cent, Q2 is looking like about 15 per cent and that is probably, I would say, going to be the number for the year," Gorman said.

The industrials sector was ahead 0.48 per cent after Candu Energy Inc., an SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) company, signed a co-operation agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company Ltd. for the construction of two nuclear reactors at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania. SNC rose $1.23 to $57.74.

The metals and mining sector gave back 0.27 per cent, returning all of the gain racked up Thursday in the wake of the strong report on Chinese manufacturing. However, the International Monetary Fund warned that global growth will be about three-tenths of a point lower at 3.4 per cent this year than it thought in April. September copper was down three cents at US$3.24 a pound after surging six cents Thursday.

The energy sector was down 0.37 per cent, while September crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up two cents to US$102.09 a barrel.

The move came after U.S. officials accused Russia of firing artillery shells over the border into Ukraine.

Also on Friday, European Union ambassadors reached a preliminary deal on stepped-up sanctions against Russia, targeting its access to European capital markets and its trade in the defence sector, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies.

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