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HL:TSX slightly higher amid disappointing U.S. reads on manufacturing, housing@

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2014 at 10:28 am •  Published: February 18, 2014

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market registered a modest gain Tuesday amid data that showed severe winter weather is having an impact on U.S. economic performance.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 27.8 points to 14,082.56. The Canadian dollar moved up 0.2 of a cent from Friday's close to 91.25 cents US amid higher prices for oil and metals.

New York indexes were largely lacklustre as the Empire State Manufacturing Index for February, a gauge of manufacturing activity in the U.S. Northeast, declined to a much worse than expected reading of 4.48 in February. That was down from 12.5 in January, with severe winter weather conditions likely playing a big part in the slide.

The Dow Jones industrials inched ahead 0.67 of a point to 16,155.06, the Nasdaq was up 26.38 points to 4,270.41 while the S&P 500 index added 2.78 points to 1,841.41.

Also, the U.S. National Association of Home Builders' housing market index tumbled 10 points to 46. Economists had expected a flat showing. But the NAHB also reported that its buyer traffic index fell nine points to 31 as fewer prospective buyers felt like braving severe winter conditions in many parts of the U.S. But economists wondered just how much the showing had to do with weather conditions.

"Much of the steep drop did capture weakness in buyer traffic that would in part reflect harsher than normal weather conditions that kept people at home — but weather wasn't exactly balmy in January either," observed CIBC World Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

Meanwhile, there was also major dealmaking in the pharmaceutical sector. Actavis PLC announced that it is buying fellow drugmaker Forest Laboratories Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth about US$25 billion.

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