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At midday: TSX rises amid strong mining earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 27. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Canadian stocks rose in morning trading as miners gained amid rising commodity prices and strong earnings.The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 101.1 points or 0.65 per cent to 15,607.55 at 11:41 a.m. ET.

Materials stocks added 2.4 percent, led by a 5-per-cent jump at First Quantum Minerals Ltd. as the copper miner reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss.

The financials index rose 0.4 per cent after nearing a 2017 low on Thursday. Canadian GDP for the month of February was unchanged, below the 0.1-per-cent increase that was forecast by economists.

U.S. stocks were slightly lower in late morning trading on Friday after data showed the economy grew at its weakest pace in three years in the first quarter.

Gross domestic product increased at a 0.7-per-cent annual rate, below the 1.2-per-cent rise estimated by economists, as consumer spending barely increased and businesses invested less on inventories.

The economy grew at a pace of 2.1 per cent in the fourth quarter.

“The GDP numbers today are questioning the robustness of the economy and throughout the week we’ve seen the impact of doubts whether the Trump administration can implement its fiscal policies,” said Mohannad Aama, managing director of Beam Capital Management in New York.

The Nasdaq Composite opened at a record high, propelled by gains in Amazon.com and Google-parent Alphabet, and is on track to post gains for the sixth straight month.

Amazon rose as much as 3.4 per cent to a life high of $949.59, while Alphabet gained as much as 4.6 per cent to a record of $932.73 after their quarterly results beat estimates.

The S&P 500 and the Dow are also set to end the month in positive territory as the corporate earnings season continues to impress.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 12.4 percent in the first quarter, the most since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

While strong earnings have kept the market at or near record levels, persistent geopolitical tensions surrounding North Korea and doubts whether the Trump administration will be able to pass its tax and healthcare plans in Congress have weighed on investors’ minds.

President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 33.35 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 20,947.98, the S&P 500 was down 3.76 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 2,385.01.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.66 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,047.28.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the real estate index’s 0.88 percent fall leading the decliners.

Intel fell 3.8 per cent to $36 after the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue. The stock was the biggest drag on the three indexes.

Oil majors Exxon and Chevron were up about 1 per cent after the two companies reported quarterly profits above expectations.

Starbucks fell 3.4 per cent to $59.21 after the world’s biggest coffee chain cut its full-year profit target.

Other data showed that the University of Michigan’s final April consumer sentiment index was at 97, below analysts expectations of 98.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.21 per cent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.12 per cent.

At six straight months of gains, MSCI’s index was set to notch its longest monthly winning streak since 2006.

Inflation blew past expectations to hit a three-year high, keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to start dialing back its stimulus measures.

Euro zone bond yields rose, with the yield on 10-year benchmark German government bonds hitting a session high of 0.361 per cent, and the euro strengthened against the dollar, up 0.19 per cent to $1.0893.

U.S. Treasury debt yields rose across the board on Friday after the GDP data. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.3072 per cent, from 2.296 per cent late on Thursday.

In commodities, oil prices advanced after a slide to a one-month low the previous day spurred buying ahead of an OPEC meeting next month at which producers could prolong output curbs. Both Brent and U.S. crude were on track for their second straight weekly and monthly declines.

U.S. crude rose 0.55 per cent to $49.24 per barrel and Brent was last at $52.15, up 0.64 per cent on the day.

With files from Bloomberg News