The Toronto stock market was little changed amid rising oil prices and a strong earnings report from American banking giant JPMorgan Chase.
The S&P/TSX composite index eased 8.59 points to 12,225.36 while the TSX Venture Exchange was 4.62 points lower to 1,295.32.
The Canadian dollar shed early gains and was down 0.04 of a cent to 102.14 cents US.
New York markets were mixed after the bank handed in a record quarterly profit of US$5.7-billion, up 34 per cent from a year ago, as the bank set aside less money for bad loans. Earnings were $1.40 per share, far exceeding the $1.21 predicted by analysts polled by FactSet.
Revenue rose six per cent to $25.1-billion, beating expectations of $24.4-billion.
Despite the strong showing, JPMorgan stock was down one per cent to US$41.68.
The Dow Jones industrials climbed 19.85 points to 13,346.24, the Nasdaq composite index lost 3.18 points to 3,046.23, while the S&P 500 index was off 0.56 of a point to 1,432.28.
Earnings expectations are low for the third quarter as the eurozone debt crisis continues to take a toll on the economies in Europe, affecting the results of multinationals. The malaise has also spread to developing economies such as China.
Analysts expect a 2.1 per cent year-over-year decline in S&P 500 operating earnings, which would be the first year-over-year drop since the recession that followed the 2008 financial collapse.
Traders also took in better than expected earnings from U.S. bank Wells Fargo. It posted third-quarter earnings per share of 88 cents, beating estimates by a penny. Revenue rose eight per cent to $$21.21-billion, which was slightly lower than analysts expected and its shares fell 3.67 per cent to US$33.89.
The tech sector led TSX advancers with Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) ahead eight cents to $7.81.
The energy component rose 0.2 per cent as fears that the conflict in Syria could widen and threaten oil shipments from the Mideast continued to push crude prices higher. The November contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 26 cents to US$92.33 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) gained 25 cents to $30.26.
The base metals sector was slightly lower as metal prices backed off with December copper down three cents to US$3.72 a pound.
Gold stocks were also weak as December bullion was off $3 to US$1,767.60 an ounce.
It was a light day on the economic calendar.
In the U.S., a second month of sharp gains in gasoline costs drove wholesale prices higher in September. But outside of the surge in energy, prices were well contained. Wholesale prices rose 1.1 per cent in September following 1.7 per cent gain in August.
European bourses were weak as London’s FTSE 100 dipped 0.26 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX was down 0.11 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 declined 0.45 per cent.
Earlier in Asia, markets were mixed by the close.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index ended a bad week with another 0.2 per cent decline. Telephone company Softbank led the way lower after it plunged 16.9 per cent on news that it is in talks to take a substantial stake in U.S. carrier Sprint Nextel Corp.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.7 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi was flat.