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At the open: Mixed data, mixed stock performance

Greek political leaders (from L to R): Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis, Socialist PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, Conservative New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, Greek President Karolos Papoulias, head of Greece's Left Coalition party Alexis Tsipras and leader of the Independent Greeks party Panos Kammenos meet at the presidential palace in Athens May 15, 2012.


Stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Greece said it will need to hold new elections after politicians failed to reach an agreement to form a coalition government.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX dipped 36.1 points to 11,4452.43 in early trading. Materials, industrials and energy stocks were on the rise as commodity prices stabilized. Suncor Energy and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan both gained almost 1 per cent.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average edged up 4.35 points to 12,699.7 points and the broader S&P 500 was flat at 1,338.5 points.

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Home Depot Inc. shares were down 4 per cent. Even though the company reported that profit rose 28 per cent, on a 6 per cent gain in sales, results fell short of expectations on the Street.

Shares of Groupon Inc. surged 25 per cent after the online-coupon company posted a small profit late Monday that slightly exceeded analyst expectations.

Greece's political impasse leaves a caretaker government comprised of technocrats running the country at a time of crisis, when the debt-laden country's possible exit from the euro zone imperils other economies.

The announcement that new elections would be necessary overshadowed earlier news that strong GDP growth in Germany had kept the euro zone out of recession in the first quarter.

In the U.S. the latest economic reports showed that inflation remained under control, giving policy makers more room to work the recovery. The Labour Department said the consumer price index remained flat in April, with prices 2.3 per cent above what they were a year earlier. Food prices rose by 0.2 per cent, but oil and gasoline prices declined.

"We continue to expect that the persistently high unemployment rate and implied slack in labour markets will put downward pressure on core inflation, seeing the rate drift below 2 per cent over the course of this year," Royal Bank of Canada economist David Onyett-Jeffries wrote in a note after the data were released.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose in April at the slowest pace of the year - just 0.1 per cent after a 0.7 per cent rise in March.

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And manufacturing in the New York region increased by significantly more than expected last month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Empire State Manufacturing Survey.

Reporting companies in Canada on Tuesday include Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust , Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust , Semafo Inc. and Centerra Gold .

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