North American stocks closed slightly higher on Monday, even as new jitters about the European sovereign-debt crisis sent European stocks lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,392.69, up 32.77 points or 0.3 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1280.70, up 2.89 points 0.2 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,196.72, up 8.08 points or less than 0.1 per cent.
Much of the attention was focused on Europe, where the leaders of France and Germany met in Berlin to discuss the region's debt crisis amid concerns that the deal to cut Greece's debt is unravelling. European stocks ended lower, as did the value of the euro. However, yields on French and Spanish 10-year government bonds retreated slightly. Italian yields nudged higher, though.
Alcoa Inc. kicked off the unofficial start of the fourth-quarter earnings season after markets closed with an operating loss of 3 cents a share, in line with analysts' estimates. The shares rose 2.9 per cent during regular trading hours.
In other U.S. moves, Netflix Inc. continued its stunning rebound of the past week, rising 13.8 per cent. Last week, it reported that consumers are watching far more streaming hours of programming than just about anyone had predicted, suggesting that the streaming and DVD-rental company remains popular.
Bank of America Corp. rose 1.5 per cent and Caterpillar Inc. rose 1.4 per cent.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. rose 0.3 per cent, after activist investor Bill Ackman said he would use a proxy fight to replace the railway's current chief executive with his own choice, former head of Canadian National Railway Co. Hunter Harrison. Mr. Ackman's response followed a public letter from CP's board of directors, saying they stood by CP's current chief.
Among other Canadian moves, Research In Motion Ltd. rose 0.8 per cent after it announced that it will demonstrate new features on a software update for its PlayBook tablet.
Among key commodities, gold fell to $1,608.10 (U.S.) an ounce, down $8.70. Crude oil fell to $101.31 a barrel, down 25 cents. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.1 per cent, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. rose 1.6 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. was unchanged.