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North American stock market indexes treaded water at the start of trading on Thursday, with disappointing U.S. initial jobless claims dragging down enthusiasm for the latest round of upbeat earning reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2 points, to 9947. The broader S&P 500 rose 1 point, to 1082.

McDonald's Corp. rose 2.5 per cent after its third quarter results topped expectations. AT&T Inc. rose 1.3 per cent for the same reason.

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In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 37 points or 0.3 per cent, to 11,405.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. fell 0.2 per cent after the fertilizer producer reported an 80 per cent decline in its quarterly earnings that nonetheless met expectations among analysts.

Harvest Energy Trust surged 34.3 per cent after the oil and gas company agreed to a $4.1-billion takeover bid from Korea National Oil Corp.

However, there was little enthusiasm elsewhere for energy stocks, even though the price of crude oil remained relatively stable, at about $81 (U.S.) a barrel. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.5 per cent and Canadian Oil Sands Trust fell 2.3 per cent.

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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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