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At the open: Stocks rise on Putin Ukraine comments

Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd R), Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov (front L), Crimean parliamentary speaker Vladimir Konstantinov (back L) and Sevastopol Mayor Alexei Chaliy shake hands after a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow March 18, 2014.

Sergei Ilnitsky/REUTERS

The Toronto stock market was little changed as traders felt some relief after Russian president Vladimir Putin said his country doesn't want any more of Ukraine. He made that comment while he signed a bill to annex Ukraine's Crimea territory.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 7.31 points to 14,239.2, held back by another day of losses in the gold sector.

There was also relief that sanctions levied against Russia by Western governments for its role in the Crimea referendum are targeted specifically against individuals as opposed to wider measures that might disrupt Russian economic activity.

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Crimea residents, many of whom are Russian speaking, voted overwhelmingly Sunday to break from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.06 of a cent to 90.53 cents (U.S.).

U.S. indexes were also higher as the Dow Jones industrials gained 33.07 points to 16,280.29, the Nasdaq was ahead 15.52 points higher to 4,295.47 while the S&P 500 index rose 4.37 points to 1,863.2.

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