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The close: Dow finishes flat as trading resumes Add to ...

U.S. indexes surrendered modest gains on Wednesday, ending the day relatively flat as U.S. stocks resumed trading following the longest weather-related closure since 1888.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,096.46, down 10.75 points or 0.1 per cent – or down more than 90 points from its high point earlier in the day. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1412.16, up 0.22 point or zero per cent.

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In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,422.91, up 45.86 points or 0.4 per cent – extending its winning streak to five consecutive days.

Home Depot benefited from a bet among investors that home improvement stocks will see a lot of business in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the New York and the east coast on Monday. The shares rose 2.2 per cent. Rival Lowes Companies rose 3.3 per cent.

Walt Disney Co. fell 1.9 per cent after announcing that it would pay $4-billion (U.S.) for Lucasfilm, the maker of the Star Wars film franchise.

Ford Motor Co. jumped 7.7 per cent after reporting strong quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ estimates.

Netflix Inc. surged 13.9 per cent in late afternoon trading when activist investor Carl Icahn reported in a regulatory filing that he had taken close to a 10 per cent stake in the movie-streaming company – and noting Netflix’s “dominant market position and international growth prospects.”

Among Canadian stocks, Westport Innovations rebounded 15.3 per cent, just a day after getting pummelled when it lowered its revenue forecast for 2012.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 0.5 per cent amid reports that the fertilizer producer has ramped up efforts to increase its stake in Israel Chemicals by appealing to the Israeli prime minister

Among commodities, crude oil rose to $86.24 a barrel, up 56 cents. Gold rose to $1,719.10 an ounce, up $7. Among Canadian commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.8 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.3 per cent.

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