Canada's benchmark index fell at the start of trading on Thursday, weighed down by disappointing earnings from key materials producers, even as U.S. indexes were relatively flat.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 9 points or less than 0.1 per cent, to 13,100. The broader S&P 500 fell 2 points or 0.1 per cent, to 1,389. Canada's S&P/TSX composite index fell 32 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,079.
The moves follow an upbeat day for stocks on Wednesday, when strong results from Apple Inc. and a cautious Fed lifted sentiment and drove key indexes higher. This time, one of the key economic reports of the week -- U.S. jobless claims -- disappointed expectations. Claims came in at 388,000 for the period ended last week, considerably higher than the 375,000 claims that economists had been expecting. The report continues a weak patch for claims and suggests that the U.S. labour market remains weak.
Meanwhile, earnings also dashed hopes. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan fell 3.6 per cent after reporting that its quarterly earnings fell, missing expectations. Goldcorp Inc. fell 4.9 per cent after reporting adjusted earnings of 50 cents (U.S.) a share, well below expectations for earnings of 58 cents a share.
Among U.S. stocks, Exxon Mobil Corp. fell 1.8 per cent after reporting that its earnings fell 11 per cent from last year, due to reduced production and rising expenses.
Apple, one of the key drivers in Wednesday's market moves, treaded water, rising just 0.2 per cent. In other moves, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 1 per cent each.