North American stocks rose at the start of trading, but the gains were weighed down by a disappointing reading on U.S. initial jobless claims.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 50 points or 0.4 per cent, to 12,887. The broader S&P 500 rose 8 points or 0.6 per cent, to 1,361. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 54 points or 0.4 per cent, to 12,404.
Futures activity and strong gains in markets overseas had suggested considerably larger gains at the start of trading. Enthusiasm was likely curbed by the U.S. Labor Department's report on initial jobless claims, which showed that claims rose to 362,000 – or about 10,000 higher than expectations.
Still, economically sensitive stocks showed some of the biggest gains. JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 1.5 per cent, Boeing Co. rose 1.2 per cent and General Electric Co. rose 1.1 per cent.
McDonald's Corp. took a rare step backward, falling 3.3 per cent after reporting disappointing same stores sales for February. Sales at stores open for at least one year rose 7.5 per cent, disappointing expectations.
Meanwhile, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce fell 0.2 per cent after reporting quarterly earnings that rose 9 per cent. Other banks fared better: Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.8 per cent and Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.6 per cent.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose 0.2 per cent after reporting its quarterly earnings and boosting its dividend. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1 per cent.