North American stock market indexes were mixed at midday, following the release of important - though hardly earth-shattering - data on rising U.S. home sales in April.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 7 points or 0.1 per cent, to 8466. The broader S&P 500 was up 2 points or 0.2 per cent, to 912 - suggesting that the better-than-expected 2.9 per cent rise in home sales failed to inspire investors to repeat Tuesday's rally, when the index jumped 2.6 per cent on a surprising jump in U.S. consumer confidence.
Half of the 10 subindexes in the S&P 500 were higher, with the more cyclical areas of the market generally outperforming the more defensive areas - reflecting the ongoing bet that the U.S. economy has bottomed out and will soon show signs of improvement. Information technology stocks rose 1.3 per cent, while financials and consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.3 per cent each.
Among defensives, consumer staples fell 0.5 per cent, utilities fell 0.9 per cent and health care stocks dipped less than 0.1 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 19 points or 0.2 per cent, to 10,305. There, information technology rose 1.4 per cent, the biggest gain among the 10 subindexes. Energy stocks rose 1.3 per cent, driven by a slightly higher price for crude oil, which rose above $63 (U.S.) a barrel. Materials were relatively unchanged, rising just 0.2 per cent.
Among the laggards, financials fell 1.1 per cent and industrials fell 0.7 per cent.