Stocks were modestly higher in midday trading on Tuesday, ahead of a much-anticipated speech by Ben Bernanke, where the Federal Reserve chairman is expected to address the recent bout of economic weakness.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,152. The broader S&P 500 was up 7 points or 0.5 per cent, to 1293.
Energy stocks showed the biggest gains, rising 0.9 per cent even as the price of crude oil hovered near the $99-a-barrel mark, unchanged for the day. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.8 per cent and health-care stocks rose 0.7 per cent.
Information technology stocks and telecom services were flat, while consumer staples rose 0.2 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 14 points or 0.1 per cent, to 13,333 – after rebounding from a slight dip at the start of trading.
Telecom services and consumer staples rose 0.7 per cent each, while energy stocks rose 0.5 per cent and financials rose 0.3 per cent. Information technology stocks were the biggest laggards, falling 1.4 per cent. Materials fell 1 per cent.