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(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
(FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

At midday: Commodities give TSX a boost Add to ...

U.S. stocks were down in midday trading on Thursday, continuing a difficult stretch for markets just a week after the benchmark S&P 500 rose to record highs. Canadian commodity stocks rallied.

The S&P 500 was down 8 points or 0.5 per cent, to 1544. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 64 points or 0.4 per cent, to 14,555. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 72 points or 0.6 per cent, to 12,019 – after recovering about 100 points from its earlier low.

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The moves follow mixed earnings and economic news.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims for the period ended last week rose by 4,000, to 352,000. That was in line with expectations.

However, a reading on Philadelphia-area manufacturing declined, missing expectations.

In earnings news, Morgan Stanley fell 3.7 per cent after it reported earnings of $984-million or 49 cents a share, beating estimates. However, the bank’s trading revenue fell sharply.

Pepsico Inc. rose 3.6 per cent and Verizon Communications Inc. rose 3.7 per cent after both companies beat expectations with their quarterly results.

Within the S&P 500, health-care stocks fell 1 per cent, consumer discretionary stocks and technology stocks fell 0.9 per cent each and financials fell 0.8 per cent.

Within Canada’s benchmark index, commodity producers showed the biggest gains: Materials rose 2.3 per cent, breaking a six-day losing streak. Energy stocks rose 1.2 per cent.

Among commodities, gold rose $11 an ounce, to $1388. Crude oil rose $1.05 a barrel, up $87.73.

In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was unchanged, while Germany’s DAX index fell 0.4 per cent.

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