North American stocks were higher in midday trading on Thursday, following upbeat earnings and better-than-expected reports on U.K. economic growth and U.S. initial jobless claims.
The S&P 500 was up 10 points or 0.6 per cent, to 1,589. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was up 67 points or 0.5 per cent, to 14,744. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 62 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,332.
Within the S&P 500, all 10 subindexes rose, reflecting a broad rally. Telecom stocks saw the biggest gains, rising 1.5 per cent. Materials rose 1.2 per cent, while financials and consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.9 per cent each.
In Canada, materials rose 2.2 per cent and energy stocks rose 0.8 per cent, but financials fell 0.1 per cent.
The moves follow a report showing that the U.K. economy expanded by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, ahead of expectations and a sharp reversal from a 0.3 per cent contraction in the fourth quarter.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 1 per cent.
In the United States, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims for the period ended last week fell by 16,000 to 339,000 – which was better than expected.
Earnings also helped. United Parcel Service Inc. rose 1.8 per cent and Dow Chemical Co. rose 4.9 per cent after their respective results topped expectations.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 2.3 per cent after it reported earnings of $556-million or 63 cents a share, beating estimates. The company also announced that it will abandon plans to buy a bigger stake in Israel Chemicals Ltd.
Gold rose to $1,452 (U.S.) an ounce, up $29 dollars, following a report that Russia and Kazakhstan had bought 5.9 metric tonnes.