TSX advances amid major telecom deal

A multi-billion dollar deal in the telecom sector helped push the Toronto stock market higher on Wednesday. The S&P/TSX composite index gained 28.51 points to 15,326.02.BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) is privatizing affiliate Bell Aliant (TSX:BA) in a deal worth roughly $3.95 billion. The telecom giant already controls 44 per cent of the regional telecommunications company.Bell Aliant shareholders will receive cash and BCE shares for a combined value of $31 per share. BCE shares were up 38 cents to $49.39, while Bell Aliant shot up $2.98 to $31.17.The Canadian dollar was up 0.03 of a cent to 93.17 cents US amid a better than expected showing in retail sales during May. Statistics Canada reported that retail sales rose 0.7 per cent during May, which was higher than the 0.6 per cent hike that economists had expected.U.S. markets were mainly lower, despite a run of generally positive earnings. Boeing helped depress the Dow industrials as the aerospace giant reported a profit of $1.65 billion, or $2.24 a share, up 52 per cent from a year earlier and beating estimates of $2.01 a share. Revenue of $22.05 narrowly missed expectations of $22.23 billion and its shares slipped 1.56 per cent to $127.71 even as Boeing boosted its earnings guidance for the year.The Dow lost 37.44 points to 17,076.1, while awell-received report from Apple helped push the Nasdaq up 10.93 points to 4,466.95. Apple Inc. reported a 12 per cent increase in its quarterly profit, exceeding analysts’ estimate. The company said its iPhone shipments rose 13 per cent over a year earlier and its shares gained 0.8 per cent to $95.49.Microsoft was off four cents to $44.79 as quarterly earnings took a hit from the Nokia devices business that it bought in April. Net income fell seven per cent to $4.61 billion, or 55 cents per share. Adjusted for charges mostly related to Nokia, earnings were 66 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expected 60 cents per share of earnings.The S&P 500 index added 0.94 of a point to 1,984.47 as traders also kept an eye on simmering tensions between Russia and the West as Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said two Ukrainian military fighter jets have been shot down in the eastern part of the country.There was relief on markets Tuesday after the European Union stopped well short of moving to jump to so-called Phase 3 sanctions that could cripple the Russian economy and possibly derail a fragile European economic recovery. They did agree to expand a list of Russian organizations and individuals subject to asset freezes and travel bans and threatened further action if Moscow did not act swiftly to rein in the pro-Russian rebels blamed for shooting down a Malaysian airliner last week.On the TSX, the metals and mining sector was ahead one per cent with September copper unchanged at US$3.21 a pound.The gold sector was ahead 0.6 per cent as August gold gained $3.10 to US$1,309.40 an ounce.The energy sector climbed 0.35 per cent, while September crude oil in New York rose 14 cents to US$102.53 a barrel.

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