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At midday: TSX hits six-week high as energy, financials drive gains

A Bay Street sign, a symbol of Canada's economic markets and where main financial institutions are located, is seen in Toronto, May 1, 2013.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

Canada's main stock index rose to six-week highs on Tuesday, led by oil and gas companies, bolstered by oil prices near five-month highs, and by financial stocks.

Cenovus Energy Inc advanced 2.4 per cent to $11.51, while Inter Pipeline Ltd. also rose 2.4 per cent to $23.60.

The energy group climbed 0.4 per cent as crude oil prices traded near five-month highs after key Middle Eastern producers showed they were continuing to comply with output cuts under an OPEC-led deal.

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The heavily weighted financials group rose 0.4 per cent, though individual gains within the sector were modest.

At 11:13 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rose 48.32 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 15,284.99. It touched 15,288.80, its highest since Aug. 9.

All 10 of the index's main groups were higher on the day.

Industrials rose 0.3 per cent, with Air Canada stock erasing early gains and falling 1.2 per cent to $23.37 after the airline set new financial targets and moved toward launching a rewards program.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.4 per cent.

Global stock markets edged higher on Tuesday and the dollar dipped as investors waited for signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve on when it will hike interest rates again and start shrinking its balance sheet.

Wall Street stocks gained slightly, with the Dow climbing to a fresh record after the open, while an index of stocks across the globe also inched higher. Tokyo's Nikkei surged 2 per cent overnight. Elsewhere, stocks took a breather.

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The U.S. central bank, which begins its two-day meeting on Tuesday, is widely expected to announce on Wednesday that it will begin paring its bond holdings, with reductions likely to start in the coming months.

Investors will also be watching for signals that the Fed will raise rates in December, and for any clues on personnel changes as the end of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's term approaches and after the resignation of Vice Chair Stanley Fischer earlier this month.

"If I'd be watching anything, it would be primarily with regard to their plans to raise rates in December, which now the market has a 50-50 odds on," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

In a speech at the United Nations, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that the United States will be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge.

The dollar index fell 0.12 per cent.

The dollar had stayed weak following U.S. data showing domestic home construction fell for a second straight month in August, rekindling some concerns about the U.S. housing sector.

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The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.82 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 22,358.17, the S&P 500 gained 0.89 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,504.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.33 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 6,454.97.

The S&P 500 and Dow had both hit new peaks on Monday despite some late pressure on big tech stocks.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.08 per cent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.15 percent.

In the U.S. bond market, prices were little changed. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 2.2375 per cent, from 2.23 percent late on Monday.

In commodity markets, oil prices edged lower. U.S. crude fell 0.2 per cent to $49.81 per barrel and Brent was last at $55.11, down 0.25 per cent on the day.

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