Stocks continued to drift sideways in midday trading on Wednesday, following an upwardly revised reading on second-quarter U.S. economic growth and an upbeat report on pending home sales.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 2 points, to 13,105. The broader S&P 500 was up 1 point or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1410. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 49 points or 0.4 per cent, to 11,961.
The tame moves fit in with an exceptionally calm week for trading activity, with the S&P 500 failing to move more than 0.1 per cent for the past three days.
The economic backdrop was positive. U.S. economic growth in the second quarter was revised up to 1.7 per cent from 1.5 per cent previously, at an annualized pace – in line with expectations, though still reflecting sluggish economic activity.
The housing sector provided more encouragement. Pending home sales in July rose 2.4 per cent – and 15 per cent over last year – touching a two-year high. That suggests existing home sales should also move higher.
Within the S&P 500, telecom stocks rose 0.9 per cent and health-care stocks rose 0.5 per cent. Energy stocks fell 0.6 per cent.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, commodity producers were the biggest drags. Energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent and materials fell 1 per cent. Financials rose 0.2 per cent.
Among commodities, crude oil fell to $94.95 (U.S.) a barrel, down $1.38. Gold fell to $1,660 an ounce, down $7.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 0.1 per cent.