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Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 20, 2012. Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to increase 3.28 per cent, said Christine Short, a senior manager at S&P Global Markets Intelligence. That’s an improvement from essentially flat profits in the third quarter. (ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS)
Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 20, 2012. Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to increase 3.28 per cent, said Christine Short, a senior manager at S&P Global Markets Intelligence. That’s an improvement from essentially flat profits in the third quarter. (ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS)

The close: S&P 500 nudges higher Add to ...

Stocks ended the day with slight gains on Wednesday, clawing back from an early decline following mixed earnings and a lack of U.S. economic news.

The S&P 500 closed at 1512.12, up 0.83 point or less than 0.1 per cent, after dipping below 1505 in early trading. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,986.52, up 7.22 points or less than 0.1 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,761.59, up 15.94 points or 0.1 per cent.

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Walt Disney Co. rose 0.4 per cent after reporting on Tuesday that its quarterly earnings rose to 77 cents (U.S.) a share, topping analysts’ estimates after excluding some items.

Zynga inc. rose 9.1 per cent after its quarterly results beat expectations – although its loss was $48.6-million and revenues were flat.

Suncor Energy Inc. fell 5.4 per cent after it reported a quarterly loss of $562-million (Canadian), or 37 cents a share, on Tuesday evening – along with a $1.5-billion writedown on its Voyageur upgrader project and a potential $1.2-billion tax bill.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. fell 0.9 per cent, despite reporting a profit of $60.9-milion or 46 cents a share, up from 26 cents a share last year. The airline also raised its quarterly dividend to 10 cents a share from 8 cents.

Research In Motion Ltd. released a statement saying that the Canadian launch of its new BlackBerry 10 was “the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry” – but investors held their enthusiasm after two days of big moves. The shares rose 0.3 per cent.

Among key commodities, crude oil fell to $96.62 (U.S.) a barrel, down 2 cents. Gold rose to $1,678.80 an ounce, up $5.30. Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. rose 0.2 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.5 per cent.

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