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TSX closes at record high as Chinese growth data beats expectations

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TORONTO - Figures showing that the Chinese economy is on track for solid growth helped lift the Toronto stock market to a record-high close Wednesday.

The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 145.02 points to 15,226.34 after data showed that the annual pace of Chinese economic growth rose to 7.5 per cent in the three months ended June 30, up from the previous quarter's 7.4 per cent.

The report was in line with the ruling Communist party's 7.5 per cent target for the year and higher than expectations for a 7.4 per cent advance.

"We haven't had really good news out of China for a while and this really reassured the market that China, at the very least, . . . (has) stopped its economic slide," said Luciano Orengo, portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

"You get this news, combined with news from the U.S. where companies have started releasing earnings and, for the most part, (they) have been better than expected," he said. "That’s (also) given the markets reassurance because a lot of the market appreciation has been due to multiple expansion and to keep the market going you need to see earnings growth."

The Canadian dollar rose 0.11 of a cent to 93.06 cents US as the Bank of Canada said it was keeping its key rate unchanged at one per cent.

The bank also said the economy is not doing as well as expected and trimmed growth projections for 2014 and 2015 by one-tenth of a point — to 2.2 and 2.4 per cent respectively.

U.S. markets were higher amid earnings reports from Bank of America and Yahoo along with word that Time Warner Inc. has rejected a US$80-billion buyout offer from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

The Dow Jones industrials also hit a fresh high, up 77.52 points to 17,138.2, the Nasdaq rose 9.58 points to 4,425.97 and the S&P 500 index climbed 8.29 points to 1,981.57.

Bank of America fell 1.96 per cent, to $15.50, after reporting second-quarter earnings that were hit by higher litigation expenses. The bank earned 19 cents per share compared with 32 cents a year ago.

Yahoo earned $270 million or 26 cents per share in the March-June quarter. That’s down from $331 million or 30 cents per share a year ago. Adjusted earnings were 37 cents per share in the latest quarter, two cents short of estimates and its shares declined 5.11 per cent to $33.79.

There were also reassuring words on the health of the American economy. The Federal Reserve’s latest regional survey showed that all districts reported job growth, that price pressures are generally contained and that the U.S. economy is expanding at a moderate to modest pace.

The base metals sector gained 1.16 per cent even as September copper was off three cents at US$3.21 a pound.

The gold sector was up about 1.77 per cent as August bullion edged $2.70 higher to US$1,299.80 an ounce.

August crude oil gained $1.24 to US$101.20 a barrel as data showed a bigger than expected drawdown in inventories last week and the energy sector rose 1.37 per cent.

The tech sector was the only decliner with BlackBerry (TSX:BB) down $1.42 or 11.7 per cent to C$10.72 after Apple and IBM said they were teaming up to develop enterprise apps and cloud services on mobile, while infringing on BlackBerry’s mobile device management territory.

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