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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, July 26, 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average on Thursday jumped 212 points following big gains in European markets. (Richard Drew/AP Photo)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, July 26, 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average on Thursday jumped 212 points following big gains in European markets.

(Richard Drew/AP Photo)

The close: Dow, TSX pare gains Add to ...

Stocks slid in afternoon trading on Tuesday, surrendering earlier gains that followed better-than-expected German economic growth and an upbeat reading on U.S. retail sales in July.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,172.14, up 2.71 points or zero per cent, handing back about 50 points from its earlier high. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1403.93, down 0.18 of a point. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,853.61, up 15.28 points or 0.1 per cent.

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The U.S. Commerce Department reported that July retail sales rose 0.8 per cent over the previous month, well ahead of expectations and marking the first gain in four months.

Overseas, the euro zone economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter from the first quarter. But this dismal reading had some good news in the details: Germany’s economy continued to expand, growing by 0.3 per cent, or slightly better than expectations. As well, France’s quarterly economic growth was flat, versus expectations for a slight contraction.

Agrium Inc. got off to a strong start in early trading after it was reported that hedge fund Jana Partners had taken a 5 per cent stake in the Canadian company in the hope of splitting its retail and wholesale fertilizer businesses. However, the shares settled back, ending the day up just 0.4 per cent on concerns that the businesses don’t need splitting.

Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. surged 9.3 per cent after the cosmetics company reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings beat expectations and sales rose 10 per cent over last year.

Home Depot Inc. rose 3.6 per cent after its second-quarter earnings rose 12 per cent over last year, topping expectations.

Social media company Groupon Inc. plunged 27 per cent after it reported on Monday that its quarterly revenues had missed expectations.

 

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