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BlackBerry dials in profit

The Toronto stock market was lower Thursday on the final day of first-quarter trading but the market found support in a surprise profit from tech giant BlackBerry amid the rollout of its new touchscreen Z10 smartphone.

BlackBerry shares (TSX:BB) (NASDAQ:BBRY) were up 34 cents or 2.3 per cent at $15.14 after the company posted a profit of US$98 million or 19 cents per share compared with a loss of $125 million or 24 cents per share a year ago.

The S&P/TSX composite moved into positive territory as the mining and energy sectors shed early losses to rise 18.74 points at 12,718.39. Another round of worry about the future of the eurozone weighed on sentiment during the final day of a shortened trading week ahead of the Easter holiday weekend.

"There hasn't really been much in the way of good news out of anywhere," said Colin Cieszynski, market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

"It seems as though we have a lot of people who are closing out positions and who can blame people for not wanting to do much."

The Canadian dollar was off session highs and unchanged at at 98.38 cents US amid January gross domestic product figures that showed Canada's economy grew at a faster than expected clip after faltering at the end of 2012.

Statistics Canada reported that real gross domestic product in January grew by 0.2 per cent. That was better than the 0.1 per cent gain economists had expected and followed a 0.2 per cent dip in December.

U.S. indexes registered gains going into the weekend amid other data that showed that the U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster but still anemic rate at the end of last year.

The Dow Jones industrials index gained 36.21 points to 14,562.37.

The Nasdaq composite index edged 6.09 points higher to 3,262.61 while the S&P 500 index could be on the way to a record high close, jumping 4.33 points to 1,567.18, surpassing its record closing high of Oct. 9, 2007. However, it was still shy of its record intraday high of 1,576.09.

The Commerce Department says the economy grew at an annual rate of 0.4 per cent in the October-December quarter. That was slightly better than the previous estimate of 0.1 per cent growth. The revision reflected stronger business investment and export sales.

Traders looked to Cyprus where banks reopened after a nearly two-week shutdown as the tiny Mediterranean country negotiated a bailout agreement with international creditors that will see many large depositors lose a big chunk of their money.

"It opens up a Pandora's box and who can trust their banks now?" added Cieszynski.

The mood was generally calm despite some long queues at certain branches. Cyprus has imposed capital controls to prevent a run on the banks, the first time such measures have been taken since the euro was established in 1999.

The Canadian Press

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