North American stocks rose at the start of trading on Tuesday, with successful European bond auctions essentially ignoring broad credit rating downgrades by Standard & Poor's on Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 104 points or 0.8 per cent, to 12,526. The broader S&P 500 rose 12 points or 0.9 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 58 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,317.
The gains come days after S&P cut the credit ratings on France and a number of other European nations. On Monday, S&P also cut the rating on the European Financial Stability Facility -- the region's bailout fund -- by one notch, in a widely expected move. Despite the downgrades, the EFSF and Spain conducted successful short-term bond auctions on Tuesday. This suggests that the appetite to European bonds remains healthy, and fears of funding issues might be overblown.
Meanwhile, China's economy expanded by 8.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, over last year. While that marks the slowest growth since the global recession of 2009, it marks a moderate slowdown that has some observers hoping that the economy can avoid a disruptive hard landing.
Citigroup Inc. reported that its quarterly earnings fell by 11 per cent in the fourth quarter, missing expectations. The shares fell 3.9 per cent. Among other U.S. banks, Bank of America Corp. rose 1.8 per cent and Wells Fargo & Co. rose 2 per cent. JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 2.7 per cent.
Alcoa Inc. rose 1.8 per ent, Chevron Corp. rose 1.6 per cent and Boeing Co. rose 1.4 per cent.
Among Canadian stocks, Kinross Gold fell 18.3 per cent even as gold surged $32.50 (U.S.) an ounce, to $1,663. Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.9 per cent.
Teck Resources Ltd. rose 2.8 per cent and Sun Life Financial Inc. rose 1 per cent.