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Mixed markets in early action

North American markets are mixed in early trading Thursday, with the S&P/TSX composite index slipping into the red even as U.S. markets gained ground.

Basic materials stocks are largely to blame for the red ink on Canada's benchmark index, with gold stocks in particular under pressue and bearing witness to the increased risk appetite for equities globally. Barrick Gold , Aurizon Mines and Iamgold Corp are all under pressure as the price of gold slips in early trading. Technology stocks are also moderately weaker in Toronto.

South of the border, investors are in a buying mood on a renewed belief that the U.S. consumer is alive and well. Retail stocks are leading the way on the S&P 500 , with Abercrombie & Fitch and J.C. Penny both higher following June sales reports.

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Boeing Co. shares are leading the Dow Jones industrial average higher and only four of the 30 names in the index are under pressure.

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