Stocks advance amid less geopolitical risk positive Chinese inflation data

Canadian stocks were higher Monday amid a perception of lessening tensions between Ukraine and Russia and reassuring economic data from China.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 82.17 points to 15,278.48, while the Canadian dollar was ahead 0.12 of a cent to 91.27 cents US.U.S. indexes were also positive as traders felt more inclined to take on risk following reports Friday that Russia called an end to military exercises near Ukraine and withdrew troops to their bases.The Dow Jones industrials were up 58.75 points to 16,612.68, the Nasdaq climbed 32.09 points to 4,402.98 while the S&P 500 index was ahead 9.79 points to 1,941.38.Fighting raged in the city of Donetsk as Ukraine government forces closed in on the rebel stronghold and insurgents backed away from a cease-fire offer. There have been worries that Russia might directly intervene in Ukraine’s civil war if it appeared the pro-Russian rebels were in danger of being defeated.There have also been worries about the effect of sanctions against Russia and counter sanctions, which could seriously damage a still fragile economic recovery in Europe.Meanwhile, in Iraq, U.S. warplanes attacked Islamic State militants near the northern city of Irbil, capital of the Kurdish region, in hopes of limiting their advance and keeping them away from oil fields.China’s consumer price index in July stayed at 2.3 per cent, well below the official target for the year of 3.5 per cent. That gives the central bank room to ease access to credit if needed to shore up economic growth, which was 7.5 per cent in the latest quarterOn the corporate front, the group of oil and gas pipeline and storage companies controlled by Kinder Morgan but traded separately will combine and become the fourth biggest U.S. energy company by market value. Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. says the total purchase price of the three other companies is US$71 billion, including $27 billion of assumed debt.Gains on the TSX were led by the base metals sector, up one per cent as the positive news from China helped push September copper up a cent to US$3.18 a pound.The gold sector edged up 0.18 per cent as increased appetite for risk pushed December gold down $2.10 to US$1,308.90 an ounce.The energy sector was ahead 0.24 per cent while September crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 47 cents to US$98.12 a barrel.The financial sector was ahead 0.6 per cent after ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday revised its outlooks to negative from stable on almost all Canadian banks.It comes a week after Ottawa launched a public consultation on its proposed ”bail-in regime,“ which seeks to protect taxpayers from having to foot the bill for bailing out a big bank in the event that it runs into financial trouble.Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (TSX:TKM) continued to charge ahead following a U.S. regulatory decision that relaxes safety precautions on the Vancouver-based company’s experimental drug for treating Ebola. Its stock surged $4.24 or 18.4 per cent to $27.24 after jumping 47 per cent on Friday.Tekmira has a $140-million contract from the U.S. government to develop its drug TKM-Ebola, but last month a small human trial of the experimental drug was put on hold after safety issues emerged.

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