North American stocks and commodities were generally higher in midday trading on Friday, following a flurry of earnings reports.
The S&P 500 was up 12 points or 0.8 per cent, to 1,554, though still on track for its worst weekly performance of 2013. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 5 points, to 14,532. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 32 points o 0.3 per cent, to 12,028.
International Business Machines Corp. – the largest-weighted stock within the Dow because of its hefty share price – fell 7.3 per cent after it reported quarterly earnings that missed expectations, marking the first “miss” since 2005, according to Bloomberg News. Sales fell 2.3 per cent.
General Electric Co. fell 4.1 per cent after its earnings matched expectations. Microsoft Corp. rose 3.3 per cent after its earnings topped expectations.
According to Bloomberg, 72 per cent of the 103 companies within the S&P 500 that have reported so far this earnings season have beaten expectations.
Within the S&P 500, defensive stocks showed the biggest gains: Telecom stocks and consumer staples rose 1.5 per cent each. Financials rose 1.1 per cent but tech stocks were flat.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, energy stocks fell 0.4 per cent and materials rose less than 0.1 per cent. Gold rose $8 (U.S.) an ounce, to $1,400. Crude oil rose 20 cents, to $87.93. In other moves, financials rose 0.3 per cent and industrials rose 0.8 per cent.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent and Germany’s DAX index fell 0.2 per cent.