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At noon: Commodities cancel gains by financials

North American stock market indexes were barely changed at midday, with commodity producers dragging down gains by financials and consumer stocks.

At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points or 0.1 per cent, to 10,410. The broader S&P 500 was up less than one point, to 1119.

At the subindex level, the action was split, with five groups up and five groups down. Financials had the biggest gains, rising 0.7 per cent after American International Group Inc. surged 7 per cent. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.6 per cent after most U.S. retailers reported February sales that exceeded expectations.

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However, commodity producers were drags after the price of crude oil and gold fell slightly. Energy stocks fell 0.6 per cent and materials fell 0.1 per cent.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 34 points or 0.3 per cent, to 11,819.

Materials were the biggest decliners, falling 1.5 per cent. Energy stocks fell a more moderate 0.3 per cent.

Financials rose 0.7 per cent, after Toronto-Dominion Bank reported fiscal first quarter results that topped forecasts. Health care stocks - a tiny component within the benchmark index, based on its weighting - rose 2.2 per cent after SXC Health Solutions Corp. surged 13.7 per cent on strong fourth quarter earnings.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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