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Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 20, 2012. Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to increase 3.28 per cent, said Christine Short, a senior manager at S&P Global Markets Intelligence. That’s an improvement from essentially flat profits in the third quarter.

ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

Stocks ended the day with slight gains on Wednesday, clawing back from an early decline following mixed earnings and a lack of U.S. economic news.

The S&P 500 closed at 1512.12, up 0.83 point or less than 0.1 per cent, after dipping below 1505 in early trading. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,986.52, up 7.22 points or less than 0.1 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,761.59, up 15.94 points or 0.1 per cent.

Walt Disney Co. rose 0.4 per cent after reporting on Tuesday that its quarterly earnings rose to 77 cents (U.S.) a share, topping analysts' estimates after excluding some items.

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Zynga inc. rose 9.1 per cent after its quarterly results beat expectations – although its loss was $48.6-million and revenues were flat.

Suncor Energy Inc. fell 5.4 per cent after it reported a quarterly loss of $562-million (Canadian), or 37 cents a share, on Tuesday evening – along with a $1.5-billion writedown on its Voyageur upgrader project and a potential $1.2-billion tax bill.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. fell 0.9 per cent, despite reporting a profit of $60.9-milion or 46 cents a share, up from 26 cents a share last year. The airline also raised its quarterly dividend to 10 cents a share from 8 cents.

Research In Motion Ltd. released a statement saying that the Canadian launch of its new BlackBerry 10 was "the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry" – but investors held their enthusiasm after two days of big moves. The shares rose 0.3 per cent.

Among key commodities, crude oil fell to $96.62 (U.S.) a barrel, down 2 cents. Gold rose to $1,678.80 an ounce, up $5.30. Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. rose 0.2 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.5 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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