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A pedestrian walks past International Business Machines Corp. offices in New York. IBM benefits from long-term customer relationships that generate recurring revenue. (Scott Eells)
A pedestrian walks past International Business Machines Corp. offices in New York. IBM benefits from long-term customer relationships that generate recurring revenue. (Scott Eells)

At midday: IBM weighs on Dow, after disappointing results Add to ...

North American stocks were mixed in midday trading on Wednesday after investors digested a flurry of quarterly reports and an upbeat reading on U.S. homebuilding activity.

Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 6 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 13,545. The broader S&P 500 was up 6 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1461. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 36 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,444.

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The moves follow a report on U.S. housing starts, which rose 15 per cent to an annualized pace of 872,000 in September, blowing past expectations among economists.

Homebuilding stocks surged on the news. Toll Brothers rose 4.4 per cent, PulteGroup rose 6.8 per cent and KB Home rose 7.5 per cent.

However, technology stocks struggled after a disappointing quarterly report from International Business Machines Corp. IBM, which has a big weighting in the 30-member Dow, fell 5.3 per cent after it reported revenues that missed expectations. In particular, hardware sales fell by double digits.

As well, Intel Corp. fell 3 per cent after it reported its results on Tuesday after markets closed. While its earnings beat expectations, they fell 14 per cent over last year. Its revenues fell 5.5 per cent.

Canada’s Celtic Exploration Ltd. surged 46 per cent after Exxon Mobil Corp. struck a deal to buy the natural gas company for $2.6-billion or $24.50 a share. Exxon shares rose 1.2 per cent.

In Europe, major indexes moved higher. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 0.3 per cent.

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