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At midday: Gold drives TSX, but S&P 500 dips Add to ...

North American stocks were mixed in midday trading on Monday, as investors weighed rising commodities against a political shift in Italy, where exit polls in the general election there suggest the country is shifting toward an anti-austerity policy.

The S&P 500 was down 5 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1510. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 52 points or 0.4 per cent, to 13,949. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 83 points or 0.7 per cent, to 12,785.

The moves continue some of the seesaw action of last week, when the benchmark S&P 500 turned in its first weekly loss of 2013, ending a seven-week losing streak after hitting a five-year high.

Within the index, financials fell 0.8 per cent, industrials fell 0.5 per cent and consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.2 per cent. Defensive utilities and telecom stocks rose 0.2 per cent each.

Within Canada’s benchmark index, materials led the gains, rising 1.9 per cent. The subindex was helped by a rebound in gold, which rose to $1,585 (U.S.) a ounce, up nearly $12 – a gain no doubt spurred by political uncertainty in Europe along with a new stimulus-driven chief central banker in Japan.

Energy stocks rose 0.4 per cent, industrials rose 0.8 per cent and technology stocks rose 1.3 per cent thanks to a 2.5 per cent rally by Research In Motion Ltd.

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