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Stocks Make Small Progress Midday

Equities in Canada's largest market slowly tacked on strength on Tuesday as declines in the information technology were more than made up for by strengthening in health-care stocks.

The TSX Composite Index regained 29.54 points to make it into noon hour at 17,322.96

The Canadian dollar slipped 0.04 cents to 76.56 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Alacer Gold, which jumped 24 cents, or 3.8%, to $6.51, and Endeavour Mining, which rose $1.12, or 4.7%, to $24.78.

Aphria fell 32 cents, or 4.5%, the most on the TSX, to $6.78, after reporting disappointing second-quarter earnings.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange nicked higher 2.42 points to 574.70

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive, with health-care sprinting 1.5%, consumer discretionary issues ahead 0.5%, and materials better by 0.3%.

The two laggards were information technology, fading 0.6%, and communications, 0.3% to the bad.

ON WALLSTREET

Blue-chip indexes in New York rose on Tuesday as the corporate earnings season kicked off with J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup posting stronger-than-forecast quarterly results.

The Dow Jones Industrials skyrocketed 124.15 points to 29,031.20, to reach a record high and trade back above 29,000.

The S&P 500 stepped back 0.01 points from Monday's record high to 3,288.12

The NASDAQ slid 2.72 points to 9,251.21

J.P. Morgan Chase posted quarterly earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations, sending the stock up more than 2%. The bank's annual profits also reached record levels at $36.4 billion. J.P. Morgan also had a surge in bond-trading revenues during the fourth quarter.

Citigroup's earnings got a boost from strong fixed-income trading as well, with revenue from that business surged 49%. Shares of the banking giant gained 2.4%.

Delta Air Lines also reported better-than-expected earnings, boosted by lower fuel costs and strong travel demand. The results sent Delta shares higher by 3.9%.

Despite the strong results from J.P. Morgan, Citi and Delta, expectations for the corporate earnings season were low. S&P 500 profits were forecast to fall 2% in the fourth quarter on a year-over-year basis

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury eked up, lowering yields to 1.82% from Monday's 1.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices took on 49 cents to $58.57 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices fell $7.70 to $1,542.90 U.S. an ounce.

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