North American stocks continued to rebound on Wednesday, amid upbeat U.S. economic reports and a successful Italian government bond auction.
In midday trading, the S&P 500 was up 13 points or 0.9 per cent, to 1510 – putting it on track for another day of gains after slumping to a one-month low on Monday. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was up 102 points or 0.7 per cent, to 14,002. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 45 points or 0.4 per cent, to 12,705.
In Italy, a successful auction of five- and 10-year government bonds eased concerns about a flareup of the sovereign debt crisis. This was the first auction since election results raised concerns that the country could veer from austerity measures.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.9 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 1 per cent.
In the United States, durable goods orders in January slumped 5.2 per cent. However, after stripping out transportation, durable goods orders rose 1.9 per cent – the biggest gain in a year, topping expectations.
As well, pending home sales rose 4.5 per cent, also beating forecasts.
Within the S&P 500, materials and industrials led the gains, rising 1.3 per cent each. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 1.2 per cent and financials rose 0.9 per cent – suggesting that economically sensitive stocks were the clear favourites.
Target Corp. fell 1.1 per cent after its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings fell 2 per cent over last year.
First Solar Inc. fell 14.9 per cent after saying that its “expected revenue” fell 15 per cent last year.
Dollar Tree Inc. surged 12.5 per cent after it reported upbeat fourth-quarter results. Earnings on a per-share basis jumped more than 26 per cent while consolidated net sales rose more than 15 per cent.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, telecom stocks rose 1.4 per cet, energy stocks rose 1 per cent and industrials rose 0.9 per cent. Financials slipped less than 0.1 per cent and materials fell 0.5 per cent.
Among commodities, gold fell to $1,605 (U.S.) an ounce, down $11. Crude oil rose to $92.77 a barrel, up 14 cents.