Stocks continued move sideways in midday trading on Wednesday, even as Washington appeared to be moving toward agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling and Apple Inc. delivered strong quarterly earnings.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 22 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,565. The broader S&P 500 was down 1 point or 0.1 per cent, to 1325.
Financials showed the biggest gains, rising 1.2 per cent. Defensive utilities rose 0.6 per cent.
However, the other eight subindexes within the S&P 500 were down. Consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.9 per cent and consumer staples fell 0.6 per cent. Commodities producers also retreated, with energy stocks and materials down 0.2 per cent each.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 26 points or 0.2 per cent, to 13,359.
Commodity producers helped keep the benchmark index in positive territory: Materials showed the biggest gains, rising 0.5 per cent after gold producers rose. Energy stocks rose 0.3 per cent after the price of crude oil approached $99 (U.S.) a barrel.
Financials rose 0.4 per cent, but other subindexes were down. Telecom services fell 0.7 per cent, information technology stocks fell 0.6 per cent and consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.4 per cent.