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North American stocks were relatively flat soon after the start of trading on Wednesday, with strong results from technology heavyweight Oracle Corp. failing to ignite a broader rally.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 4 points, to 13,166. The broader S&P 500 fell 1 point, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1,404. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 20 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,411.

The sluggishness comes after a weak day for stocks on Tuesday, over concerns about China's appetite for commodities.

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Oracle rose 0.9 per cent after it reported a 19 per cent gain in its fiscal third quarter earnings. Other technology stocks also showed some strength, with International Business Machines Corp. up 0.5 per cent.

However, some commodity producers continued to drag on major indexes. Alcoa Inc. fell 1.1 per cent, Chevron Corp. fell 0.9 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.5 per cent – even as commodity prices rebounded modestly from Tuesday's dip.

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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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