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At midday: Stocks struggle for direction Add to ...

North American stocks struggled for direction on Tuesday as investors continue to weigh last week’s rally that had delivered the best weekly performance for the U.S. benchmark index this year.

Shortly after noon, the S&P 500 was up 1 point or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1407. It closed lower on Monday as well, ending a five-day winning streak. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 10 points or 0.1 per cent, to 12,957. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 38 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,147.

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The moves follow an upbeat report on U.S. home prices in September. The S&P/Case-Shiller index for 20 U.S. cities rose 3 per cent over last year, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 in November, up from 73.1 in October and a little better than economists’ expectations.

Within the S&P 500, energy stocks fell 0.6 per cent, telecom stocks fell 0.1 per cent and technology stocks were flat. Utilities rose 0.6 per cent and industrials and consumer staples rose 0.4 per cent each.

Within Canada’s benchmark index, industrials rose 0.7 per cent, but technology stocks fell 1 per cent, energy stocks fell 0.4 per cent and materials fell 0.6 per cent.

Bombardier Inc. rose 7.7 per cent after it signed a $7.8-billion (U.S.) deal with VistaJet for as many as 142 aircraft.

Research In Motion Ltd., whose shares had been on a tear in anticipation of a new BlackBerry platform in the new year, fell 6.4 per cent. While some analysts have upgraded their target prices on the stock, Morgan Stanley said on Tuesday that RIM can no longer compete with Apple or Samsung, even if BlackBerry 10 is well-received.

Among commodities, crude oil rose to $87.78 a barrel, up 4 cents. Gold fell to $1,746, down about $3.

In Europe, major indexes saw modest gains. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 0.6 per cent.

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