Stocks mostly lower on Wall Street in morning trading

Traders in Toronto and NY shied away from making any big moves Wednesday amid declining oil prices, yet most indices were still able to extend gains for a fourth straight day - with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 again breaking through new ground at the close.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 102.04 points, or 0.72 percent, at 14,361.88.

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Gold, which hit a two-year high last week on Brexit concerns, fell 0.5 per cent to US$1,359 an ounce.

USA stock prices fell to 3-1/2 month lows on June 27, as the surprise vote by United Kingdom voters to withdraw from the European Union, or Brexit, brought about another wave of uncertainty for investors, before the recent rally of almost 7.0 percent. France's CAC 50 rose 0.1 percent.

Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters News, advanced 2.1 percent to C$54.40 after it said it would sell its intellectual property and science business for $3.55 billion. While the Nasdaq dipped 17.09 points or 0.3% to 5,005.73, the Dow crept up 24.45 points or 0.1% to 18,372.12 and the S&P 500 inched up 0.29 points or less than a tenth of a % to 2,152.43. "We've been telling clients to sort of buckle up", said Jeff Mortimer, director of investment strategy for BNY Mellon Wealth Management, which has a year-end target of 2,150 on the S&P 500.

Arts and crafts chain Michaels fell $1.63, or 5.5 percent, to $27.25 after a disappointing forecast.

Stock markets are also encouraged by expectations of more stimulus from Japan, where newly re-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised new government spending to help jolt the Asian country back to life.

Canadian markets strategist Craig Fehr said last week's employment report not only shows that the US economy is growing, but may be enough to push the Federal Reserve into hiking interest rates at least once before the end of this year.

The TSX's financials group, which accounts for 35 percent of the index's weight, gained 0.8 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent.

METALS: Precious and industrial metals prices rose.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 57 cents at $45.32 a barrel after closing at $44.75 a barrel in NY on Wednesday. Brent crude, a standard for global oil prices, lost $2.21, or 4.6 percent, to close at $46.26 a barrel in London. Stocks are little changed in early trading after setting records the last few days.

The August crude contract was up $1.24 at US$46 per barrel and August natural gas was flat at US$2.70 per mmBTU.

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