North American stocks held onto earlier gains in midday trading on Friday, a day after the S&P 500 suffered its worst selloff in March.
The S&P 500 was up 9 points or 0.6 per cent, to 1554, a day after falling 0.8 per cent. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was up 82 points or 0.6 per cent, to 14,503. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 47 points or 0.4 per cent, to 12,795.
The gains follow speculation that Cypriot lawmakers are making progress toward a deal, necessary for the country to receive a bailout and save it from a banking failure and potential exit from the euro zone.
However, a reading on German business this month suffered its first decline since October.
Within the S&P 500, the gains were broad, lifting all 10 subindexes. Consumer discretionary stocks and telecom stocks rose 0.9 per cent each. Consumer staples rose 0.8 per cent and technology stocks rose 0.4 per cent.
Nike Inc. surged 11.5 per cent after reporting that its gross margins widened following price increases last year. Sales in China also rose, ending a recent slide.
Tiffany & Co. rose 1.9 per cent after reporting quarterly earnings of nearly $180-million (U.S.) or $1.40 a share, up 0.7 per cent over last year but topping expectations.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, telecom stocks and financials rose 0.7 per cent each and industrials rose 0.4 per cent. However, commodity producers were no help: Energy stocks were flat and materials fell 0.4 per cent.
Research In Motion Ltd. rose 0.7 per cent after its new BlackBerry Z10 went on sale in the United States, trimming its earlier gains from this morning of nearly 4 per cent. Credit Suisse reiterated its “underperform” recommendation on the stock.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 per cent in late afternoon trading and Germany’s DAX index was down 0.2 per cent.