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At midday: Dow shows slight gain, to new high

U.S. stocks idled on Wednesday in midday trading, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average surged to a new record high.

The blue-chip Dow was up 19 points or 0.1 per cent, to 14,272 – a fresh high, but a gain that pales next to Tuesday's 126-point leap. The broader S&P 500 was down about 1 point, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1539. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 83 points or 0.7 per cent, to 12,819.

The moves followed an upbeat report on private-sector hiring in the United States, which arrives two days before the official payrolls report from the Labor Department. The ADP report showed that employers added 198,000 positions in February – and revised January's figures upward to 215,000.

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The Labor Department's report on Friday is expected to show pivate sector job gains totalling 167,000, according to Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said factory orders fell 2 per cent in January, slightly better than the 2.2 per cent drop anticipated by economists.

Within the S&P 500, materials rose 0.6 per cent and financials rose 0.4 per cent. However, telecom stocks fell 0.4 per cent, energy stocks fell 0.3 per cent and consumer staples fell 0.2 per cent.

In Canada, commodity producers drove the bus: Materials bounced 2.3 per cent while energy stocks rose 0.8 per cent. Financials retreated 0.1 per cent.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index rose 0.6 per cent.

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