North American stocks were generally unchanged in midday trading on Friday, after the U.S. inflation rate declined, industrial production picked up and Apple Inc. resumed its dramatic selloff.
Shortly after noon, the S&P 500 was down 2 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1417. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 7 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 13,164. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 6 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 12,295.
U.S. inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, eased to a yearly rate of 1.8 per cent in November, down 0.3 per cent and below expectations.
Industrial production rose 1.1 per cent, topping expectations.
Within the S&P 500, technology stocks were the biggest laggards, falling 0.8 per cent – largely because of a 3.4 per cent dip by Apple Inc., putting the stock on track to close at a 10-month low. Financials fell 0.2 per cent but industrials rose 0.2 per cent.
General Electric Co. rose 0.3 per cent after announcing it would boost its share buyback activity by $10-billion and raised its quarterly dividend by 12 per cent.
In Canada, materials rose 0.7 per cent and energy stocks fell 0.3 per cent. Among key commodities, gold rose to $1,698 (U.S.) an ounce, up $1. Crude oil rose to $86.70 a barrel, up 81 cents.
Financials were unchanged after Standard & Poor’s lowered credit ratings on six Canadian financial institutions, following an earlier warning that ratings were under review. Bank of Nova Scotia was down just 1 cent (Canadian) after its rating was lowered by one notch.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 0.2 per cent.