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New York tepid after storm closure

The Toronto stock market was positive Wednesday in a fifth day of advances, led by rising mining stocks as commodity prices gained ground.

But New York indexes were weak as markets reopened for business after superstorm Sandy forced a two-day shutdown of U.S. financial markets.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 63.11 points to 12,440.16.

The TSX Venture Exchange was 7.95 points higher to 1,310.88.

The Dow Jones industrials found early support from the latest earnings report from General Motors Corp. and home improvement giant Home Depot, but at mid-afternoon the blue chip barometer was down 17.47 points to 13,089.74.

The Nasdaq dipped 13.08 points to 2,974.87, reflecting a one per cent drop in Apple Inc. shares. The S&P 500 index gave back 1.21 points to 1,410.73.

Analysts pointed out that the New York markets had little to react to over the past couple of days with no major economic reports, while many companies postponed the release of earnings reports.

"I would expect the markets really to take their lead from tomorrow and the following days as we get more economic data and more earnings releases," said Jeff Bradacs, portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

He pointed out that traders are looking to the latest reading on the Chinese manufacturing sector Wednesday night and the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for October, which comes out Friday.

"Really the key is actually the next couple of days."

Traders also looked ahead to a U.S. election Tuesday that is too close to call and the approaching fiscal cliff.

The Canadian dollar gave up early gains as the latest reading on economic growth missed expectations.

The loonie was down 0.02 of a cent to 100.05 cents US after Statistics Canada reported that gross domestic product edged down 0.1 per cent in August, the first monthly decline since February 2012. A 0.2 per cent rise had been expected.

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