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At the open: Dow slips on weak jobless claims, home sales

No-Data-Available, APR 12/Reuters, APR 12 No-Data-Availabl

North American stocks were mixed soon after the start of trading on Thursday, with disappointing U.S. jobless claims and home sales weighing against a strong round of U.S. earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 45 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,988. The broader S&P 500 fell 5 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1,380. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 21 points or 0.2 per cent, to 12,150.

Financials were generally strong after upbeat earnings reports from key U.S. companies. Bank of America Corp. rose 0.5 per cent after its earnings fell dramatically from last year, but managed to top lowered expectations. Morgan Stanley rose 2.6 per cent.

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As well, eBay Inc. surged 13.2 per cent after reporting its quarterly results on Wednesday evening, demonstrating that its turnaround is progressing nicely.

However, Walt Disney Co. fell 1.2 per cent and Chevron Corp. fell 0.9 per cent.

The moves follow the release of weekly jobless claims from the U.S. Labor Department, which showed that claims fell by just 2,000 for the period ended last week. As well, the previous week's claims were revised higher, to 388,000. Meanwhile, U.S. existing home sales fell 2.6 per cent in March, dashing expectations for a slight gain.

Among Canadian stocks, commodity producers helped drive the benchmark index to early gains. Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. rose 1 per cent each, while Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.9 per cent.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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