U.S. stocks held onto gains in midday trading on Thursday while Canadian stocks drifted, a day after sharp declines rattled confidence in the economic recovery.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 68 points or 0.6 per cent, to 11,965. The broader S&P 500 was up 5 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1271.
Defensive sectors within the S&P 500 led the gains, with consumer staples and utilities up 0.9 per cent each. As well, financials rose 0.7 per cent and industrials rose 0.6 per cent.
Materials fell 0.3 per cent, while telecom services and consumer discretionary stocks were relatively flat.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 24 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,948.
Materials stocks were a big reason for the index's retreat, falling 1.2 per cent after gold producers, fertilizer producers and base metals miners declined. Energy stocks were flat and financials rose 0.2 per cent.