RTTNews - Toronto stocks have moved modestly higher on Thursday as bargain-hunters are taking advantage of a plunge to a two-month low. Strength in the mining sector has led the gains.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has climbed 52.98 points or 0.54% to 9,706.43. The index dropped about 1.9% yesterday.

Mining stocks are up 3.3% has copper has added 4.1 cents to $2.20 per pound. HudBay (HBM.TO) has rallied 4.7%, Teck Resources (TCK.B.TO) is up 4.2% and Inmet (IMN.TO) has gained 2.6%.

Materials stocks have added 2.2% and gold stocks are up 1.7% as the precious metal has climbed $4.10 to $913.50 per ounce. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) has risen 3%, Eldorado (ELD.TO) is up 2.6% and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) has added 1.9%.

Energy stocks have gained 1.8%, erasing some of the recently-seen slide, although crude oil has moved to the downside in NYMEX trading. Suncor (SU.TO) is up 1.7%, Canadian Oil Sands (COS.UN.TO) has added 1.6% and Encana (ECA.TO) has gained 1.5%.

On the corporate front, Air Canada (AC.B.TO) chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu remains confident the beleaguered airliner can avoid bankruptcy, according to the Globe and Mail. Shares are down 2.3%.

Astral Media (ACM-A.TO) is flat after the company said its third-quarter net earnings rose to C$44.30 million or C$0.78 per share from C$43.28 million or C$0.75 per share a year ago.

Sandvine Corp. (SVC.TO) shares plunged 10.75% after the company reported a wider second-quarter net loss of C$5.63 million or C$0.042 per share compared with C$4.63 million or C$0.034 per share in the year earlier period.

Across the border, earnings season got underway after yesterday's close with a second-quarter report from Alcoa (AA). The aluminum maker's adjusted net loss for the latest quarter was $256 million or $0.26 per share. Analysts expected a loss of $0.38 per share.

In economic news, Canadian housing starts increased to 140,700 units in June from 130,300 units in May, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported. Economists were expecting housing starts to once again rise about 130,000 units.

A U.S. Labor Department report showed that jobless claims fell to 565,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 617,000. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to 603,000 from the 614,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Later, a Commerce Department report showed that wholesale inventories fell 0.8 percent in May following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in April. Economists had expected inventories to fall by 1.0 percent compared to the 1.4 drop originally reported for the previous month.

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