North American stocks ticked slightly higher at the start of trading on Tuesday, lifted by rising commodity prices and an agreement in Europe to bail out Greece to the tune of €130-billion, but weighed down by disappointing financial results from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 12,960. The broader S&P 500 rose less than 1 point, to 1,362. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 63 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,521.
Wal-Mart fell 4.2 per cent after the global retailer reported its fourth quarter results. Gross profit margins fell, sales at stores open at least one year rose 1.5 per cent, missing expectations, and operating earnings were $1.44 (U.S.) a share, a penny below analysts' estimates.
However, Home Depot Inc. rose 2.5 per cent after reporting its financial results.
Commodity producers were strong after the price of crude oil rose to $104.90 (U.S.) a barrel, up $1.30 – driven largely by supply concerns from Iran, which is now demanding importers sign long-term contracts. As well, gold rose to $1,740 an ounce, up $14. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 2 per cent, Chevron Corp. rose 1 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 1.4 per cent.