North American stocks were relatively flat in midday trading on Friday, shaking off earlier declines that followed a surprising jump in Chinese inflation last month.
Shortly after noon, the S&P 500 was down less than 2 points or 0.1 per cent, to 1471. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was up 8 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 13,480. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 37 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,562.
Research In Motion Ltd. opened weaker but soon reversed course and buying momentum has picked up through the noon hour. It was last trading up 10 per cent. This despite a BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst downgrading his recommendation on the stock today to “underperform” and slashing his price target to $9 from $12 – arguing that RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 will not stem market share losses.
China reported that its consumer price index rose 2.5 per cent in December over last year, which was higher than expected. The rise weighed on Chinese stocks, sending its benchmark Shanghai stock exchange composite index down 1.7 per cent.
However, Japan announced a bold 20-trillion yen stimulus plan it hopes will drive economic growth to 2 per cent and create 200,000 jobs. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.4 per cent.
Within the S&P 500, consumer staples rose 0.3 per cent and technology stocks rose 0.1 per cent. Financials fell 0.5 per cent and industrials fell 0.3 per cent.
Boeing Co. fell 2.5 per cent after the Federal Aviation Administration said it is conducting a review of Boeing’s 787 following a recent series of mishaps that raised questions about the new plane – even though the FAA administrator and the U.S. Transportation secretary said the planes were safe.
Among key commodities, gold fell to $1,669 (U.S.) an ounce, down more than $18. Crude oil fell to $93.14 a barrel, down 68 cents.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, materials fell 0.5 per cent, energy stocks fell 0.4 per cent and financials fell 0.3 per cent.