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At noon: Dow, TSX hold gains Add to ...

Stocks remained sharply higher in midday trading on Thursday, with investors welcoming developments in the Greek debt crisis and a better-than-expected reading on business activity in the Chicago area.

At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 146 points or 1.2 per cent, to 12,407. The broader S&P 500 was up 13 points or 1 per cent.

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The gains put both indexes on track to post their fourth consecutive day of gains, as earlier concerns about a potential default by Greece have given way to upbeat news - in particular, the passage of a Greek austerity budget and a response by German and French banks to roll over Greek bonds.

All 10 subindexes within the S&P 500 were higher, suggesting broad gains. Industrials rose 1.8 per cent and materials rose 1.5 per cent, while information technology and energy stocks rose 1.3 per cent each.

Defensive stocks generally lagged. Utilities rose just 0.1 per cent, while health care and consumer staples rose about 0.4 per cent each.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 62 points or 0.5 per cent, to 13,251.

Information technology stocks rose 1.3 per cent, consumer discretionary stocks rose 1.1 per cent and industrials rose 0.9 per cent.

Materials fell 0.2 per cent and consumer staples rose just 0.2 per cent.

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