U.S. stocks were lower in midday trading on Thursday, while Canadian stocks moved higher, as investors digested upbeat initial jobless claims and a flurry of earnings reports.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 42 points or 0.3 per cent, to 13,134. The broader S&P 500 was down 2 points or 0.2 per cent, taking it slightly below the 1400-threshold and threatening a four-day rally. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 62 points or 0.5 per cent, to 11,843.
The moves follow the Labor Department’s weekly snapshot of initial jobless claims: They fell by 6,000, to 361,000 – which was considerably better than the 370,000 claims that economists had been expecting and provided some encouragement for the U.S. employment situation.
Yet within the S&P 500, most of the 10 subindexes were down. Consumer staples fell 0.5 per cent, while financials and consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.3 per cent each. Materials showed the only gains, rising 0.2 per cent.
Within the Canadian benchmark index, commodity producers were a big factor behind the gains: Energy and materials stocks rose 1.2 per cent each, while telecom stocks rose 1.3 per cent and financials were relatively flat.
In Europe, major indexes showed little movement. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 per cent and Germany’s DAX index barely budged.
In Canadian earnings news, Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. rose 4.8 per cent after reporting that its net earnings rose more than 25 per cent.
Dorel Industries Inc. rose 4.6 per cent after it doubled its dividend and reported a profit gain of 36 per cent.
Tim Hortons Inc. fell 4.3 per cent after it reported a 13 per cent gain in earnings and nearly a 12 per cent gain in sales. However, the company’s earnings were merely in line with analysts’ estimates.