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At the open: Commodities weigh on TSX Add to ...

Stocks hovered near their starting positions on Thursday, following mixed U.S. economic news.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 11,566. The broader S&P 500 fell 1 point or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1258. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 34 points or 0.3 per cent, to 13,347.

U.S. initial jobless claims were relatively benign, falling 3,000, to 420,000 for the period ended last week. U.S. durable goods order for November fell 1.3 per cent, which was a bigger than expected decline due largely to a dip in aircraft orders. However, it wasn't all gloom: orders for non-defense capital goods rose 2.6 per cent.

Alcoa Inc. rose 2.6 per cent and Home Depot Inc. rose 0.4 per cent. However, financials were weak, with Bank of America Corp. down 1.6 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. down 0.3 per cent.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. surged 5.8 per cent after the retailer posted strong gains in its quarterly earnings, reported after markets closed on Wednesday.

Among Canadian stocks, commodity producers were largely to blame for the decline in the benchmark index. While the price of crude oil was steady, remaining above $90 (U.S.) a barrel, gold slumped to $1376 an ounce, down about $11. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.7 per cent, Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.6 per cent and Teck Resources Ltd. fell 0.8 per cent.

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