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At the open: Dow on track for fourth straight decline

Damian Bagarozza, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, March 19, 2012.

Richard Drew/Richard Drew/AP

North American stocks were mixed soon after the start of trading on Friday, with Canada's commodity-heavy benchmark index rising modestly but U.S. indexes on track for their fourth consecutive decline.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 17 points or 0.1 per cent, to 13,029. The broader S&P 500 fell 3 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1,390. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 32 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,394.

Commodity producers showed some strength, with Alcoa Inc. up 1 per cent, Suncor Energy Inc. up 0.5 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. up 1 per cent.

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Meanwhile, Bank of America Corp. and General Electric Co. fell 0.4 per cent each. Cisco Systems Inc. rose 0.5 per cent but Dell Inc. fell 3.3 per cent.

Nike Inc. , which reported a 7 per cent gain in its earnings when it reported quarterly results on Thursday evening, fell 4.1 per cent.

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