After dithering at the start of trading, North American stocks moved higher by midday on Thursday, with investors relieved over a drop in U.S. jobless claims and assurances from European leaders - though lacking in details - that something will be done to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt obligations..
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 90 points or 0.9 per cent, to 10,128. The broader S&P 500 was up 8 points or 0.8 per cent, to 1076.
All 10 subindexes within the S&P 500 were higher, although commodities producers and other economically cyclical areas of the market enjoyed the biggest gains. Energy stocks rose 1.3 per cent after the International Energy Agency raised its forecasts for global oil demand this year, due to rising economic activity in Asia. Materials stocks rose 1.1 per cent, helped by a $13 rise in the price of gold, to $1090 an ounce.
Information technology stocks rose 1.2 per cent and consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.9 per cent.
Among the lagging sectors, utilities and financials barely budged, while health care stocks advanced just 0.3 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 90 points or 0.8 per cent, to 11,377.
Commodity stocks were at the forefront, with energy stocks up 0.8 per cent and materials up 2.8 per cent.
However, financials dipped about 0.1 per cent after investors booed the latest quarterly results from Manulife Financial Corp. and Sun Life Financial Inc., which rose over last year but missed analysts' expectations.