North American stocks were mixed in midday trading on Monday, as declining commodity prices weighed against lower Chinese inflation and upbeat U.S. bank earnings.
Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 67 points or 0.5 per cent, to 13,396. The broader S&P 500 was up 7 points or 0.5 per cent, to 1435. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 13 points or 0.1 per cent, to 12,189.
U.S. retail sales rose 1.1 per cent in September, well above the 0.8 per cent gain expected by economists. Previous months were also revised higher, with August sales rising 1.2 per cent versus an earlier report showing a 0.9 per cent rise.
China reported that consumer prices in September rose just 1.9 per cent over last year, marking the slowest pace of inflation in two years. While that reflects a slowing economy, it also gives the government breathing room in introducing stimulus measures to boost activity.
Japan’s Softbank Corp. agreed to buy a 70 per cent stake in Sprint Nextel Corp. for more than $20-billion (U.S.). Sprint shares, which had risen last week in the runup to the official announcement, retreated 0.3 per cent.
Citigroup Inc. rose 4.4 per cent after it reported a third-quarter profit of $1.06 a share, after excluding one-time items. That topped forecasts among analysts, who had been expecting earnings of 97 cents a share.
Commodity prices were hit. Gold fell to $1,733 an ounce, down more than $21. That marked its biggest one-day decrease in about three months. Over the past week, gold has tumbled a total of 3 per cent, though the declines follow a 16 per cent rally from May to early October.
Within the S&P 500, health-care stocks rose 1.2 per cent, financials rose 0.8 per cent and consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.5 per cent.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, financials rose 0.3 per cent, but commodity producers lagged: Energy stocks fell 0.4 per cent and materials fell 1.2 per cent.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 0.4 per cent.