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TSX rises on optimism over Greece as materials shares climb

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock exchange. North American stocks were mostly positive Tuesday morning.

TORONTO – The Toronto Stock Exchange was solidly ahead for any second consecutive session Tuesday with almost all sectors higher.

The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 110.04 points to 14,900.52 at midafternoon, contributing to Monday\’s 137-point gain because the heavyweight mining, energy and financials sectors all trended higher.

The loonie was down 0.11 of a U.S. cent at 81.02 cents.

In commodities, the August crude contract was up 59 cents at US$60.97 a barrel, while August gold fell $7.90 to US$1,176.20 an ounce and July copper advanced four cents to US$2.61 one pound.

In New York, markets were flat amid encouraging news around the U.S. housing front but a so-so set of durable goods.

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The Dow Jones industrial average was up 12.74 points at 18,132.52, while the Nasdaq was down 0.38 of a point at 5,153.59 and also the S&P 500 was off 0.2 of a point at 2,122.65.

The U.S. Commerce Department said sales of recent homes rose 2.2 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, the strongest pace since February 2008.

Sales of new homes have soared 24 per cent year up to now, helped by the additional incomes from the employers hiring 3.1 million workers previously 12 months and relatively low mortgage rates.

The sharp increase in new home sales may help drive more employment in the construction sector and broader economic growth, potentially offsetting setbacks in the manufacturing sector caused by lower oil prices along with a stronger dollar which has hurt exports.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department also reported that total orders for durable goods dropped 1.8 per cent in May after falling 1.5 per cent in April – in part as a result of a 35.3 per cent plunge in orders in the volatile aircraft category. Excluding transportation, orders rose 0.5 per cent.

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American factories have struggled this year, in part because a strong dollar has made U.S. goods more expensive in other countries, while lower oil prices have cut interest in equipment from energy companies.

Overseas, optimism for a settlement within the Greece\’s sovereign debt crisis remained strong because of proposals submit by the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

European finance ministers are scheduled to meet Wednesday, accompanied by a summit of the region\’s political leaders.

There are hopes that a deal is going to be signed after the week, in time for Greece to obtain the money it needs to make an upcoming payment towards the International Monetary Fund.

With files from The Associated Press