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At the open: TSX rises as banks, telecom stocks rally

File photo of a TD branch in the financial district of Toronto.

Ryan Carter/The Globe and Mail

The Toronto stock market was higher at the open amid strong bank earnings and an easing of concerns over a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 21.21 points to 12,628.43 as TD Bank (TSX:TD), CIBC (TSX:CM) and Royal Bank (TSX:RY) all beat earnings expectations and TD and Royal also boosted their dividends. The Canadian dollar was down 0.2 of a cent to 95.17 cents US.

TD Bank was up 1.4 per cent, Royal was up nearly 1 per cent and CIBC was up 1.5 per cent.

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Canadian telecom stocks also were moving sharply higher after U.K. carrier Vodafone Group PLC said it's in talks with Verizon Communications Inc. to sell its 45 per cent stake in their joint venture company Verizon Wireless. As Boyd Erman explains in Streetwise today, this could explain why Verizon has cooled to the idea of coming to Canada and is a further indication that Verizon won't be coming North anytime soon.

BCE was up 1.3 per cent at $43.07, Rogers Communications was up 3.2 per cent at $42.09, and Telus was up 2.2 per cent at $33.

U.S. indexes were mainly lower despite indications that a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria may not be happening imminently.

The latest reading on growth showed that the U.S. economy grew at a higher than expected pace of 2.5 per cent in the second quarter. And that raised concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to wind up a key stimulus measure later this year, perhaps as soon as next month.

The Dow Jones industrials slipped 9.91 points to 14,814.6, the Nasdaq was 2.38 points higher at 3,595.73 while the S&P 500 index was down points 2.05 at 1,632.91.

Oil fell 64 cents to $109.46 a barrel after surging earlier this week on supply disruption worries.

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