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Avon store in New York. Avon Products Inc. is a direct seller of beauty products (AP)
Avon store in New York. Avon Products Inc. is a direct seller of beauty products (AP)

At midday: Avon sits pretty, Dow tops 14,000 Add to ...

North American stocks were up modestly in midday trading on Tuesday, driving the Dow Jones industrial average back above its 14,000-point perch.

Shortly after noon, the Dow was up 30 points or 0.2 per cent, to 14,001. The broader S&P 500 was up 1 point or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1518. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 59 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,807.

Avon Products surged 20 per cent after reporting its fourth quarter results, topping expectations despite a quarterly loss and a 1 per cent retreat in revenue. The company’s chief executive said the results showed early signs of stabilization following a difficult period.

Apple Inc.’s chief executive Tim Cook responded directly to hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s demands that the cash-rich company start distributing more of its $137-billion (U.S.) stockpile. While Mr. Cook called the issue a “sideshow,” he also said that Apple was carefully considering Mr. Einhorn’s proposal. The share price, however, fell 2.3 per cent.

U.S. Financials showed some strength. Bank of America Corp. rose 2.2 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 1 per cent.

Homebuilders were also strong: PulteGroup Inc. rose 5 per cent and D.R. Horton rose 4.7 per cent.

Coca Cola Co. fell 2.7 per cent after reporting a 13 per cent rise in its quarterly earnings. However, revenue missed expectations, with weak operations in Europe and China.

In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 1 per cent and Germany’s DAX index rose 0.4 per cent.

Commodities were relatively stable. Crude oil rose to $97.46 a barrel, up 43 cents. Gold fell to $1,647 an ounce, down $2.

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