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An employee holds Apple's iPhone 4S, left, and Samsung's Galaxy S III at a store in Seoul on Friday. Samsung Electronics has not violated the iPhone design, a Seoul court has ruled. (LEE JAE-WON/REUTERS)
An employee holds Apple's iPhone 4S, left, and Samsung's Galaxy S III at a store in Seoul on Friday. Samsung Electronics has not violated the iPhone design, a Seoul court has ruled. (LEE JAE-WON/REUTERS)

The close: S&P 500 trims gain as Apple slump deepens Add to ...

Stocks rose on Thursday, even as Apple Inc. suffered its worst one-day slump in more than two years after reporting disappointing quarterly results.

The S&P 500 closed at 1,494.82, up 0.01 point or zero per cent – after failing to hold onto a 1,500-point milestone earlier in the day. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,825.33, up 46 points or 0.3 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,823.62, up 29.57 points or 0.2 per cent.

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The gains are even more remarkable given that Apple – the biggest-weighted stock within the S&P 500 and still the world’s most valuable company based on market capitalization – suffered a 12.4 per cent decline after reporting disappointing quarterly results on Wednesday evening.

The iPad and iPhone maker revealed slowing earnings and sales growth, even as earnings topped expectations. Sales missed expectations, as did its sales forecast, raising concerns that the technology behemoth is facing competitive headwinds. Analysts reacted by slashing their target prices on the stock, which has now fallen 36 per cent from its record high in September.

However, the economic backdrop continued to point to a sustained recovery. U.S. initial jobless claims for the period ended last week fell to 330,000, the lowest level in five years and well below analyst expectations for 355,000 claims.

In other stock market moves, Netflix Inc., the video subscription service, surged an amazing 42.2 per cent after it reported a quarterly profit on Wednesday along with 4 million new customers.

In Canada, Agrium Inc. rose 2.9 per cent after it raised its fourth-quarter earnings estimate to $2 a share from a previous forecast of $1.50 to $1.90 a share. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 1.7 per cent.

Research In Motion Ltd. rose 2.9 per cent after an executive at Lenovo Group Ltd. said that the Chinese computer maker was looking at potential acquisitions, including RIM, though he provided no specifics.

Among key commodities, crude oil rose to $95.95 (U.S.) a barrel, up 72 cents. Gold fell to $1,669.90 an ounce, down $16.80. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.4 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.9 per cent.

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