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At the open: RIM, Microsoft hit hard Add to ...

North American stocks rose modestly at the start of trading on Friday, although investors were focused on two big declining stocks: Research In Motion Ltd. and Microsoft Corp.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 33 points or 0.3 per cent, 12,796. The broader S&P 500 rose 1 point or less than 0.1 per cent, to 1361. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite rose 26 points or 0.2 per cent, to 13,920.

RIM plunged 13.5 per cent soon after trading began, following a profit warning on Thursday evening after markets closed. That warning caused at least one bullish analyst to change his tune. Kris Thompson, an analyst at National Bank Financial, cut his target price on the stock to $50 from $80, arguing that RIM is no longer up to the challenge of navigating through growing competition in the smartphone market.

Meanwhile, another technology company also took its lumps: Microsoft Corp. fell 2.1 per cent after it released its quarterly earnings on Thursday. While earnings rose over last year, sales of its Windows software is struggling due in part to the rise of tablet computers.

In other moves, Caterpillar Inc. rose 2.8 per cent, Boeing Co. rose 1.9 per cent and Procter & Gamble rose 0.6 per cent. Among Canadian stocks, energy producers helped support the broader index after the price of crude oil nudged above $113 (U.S.) a barrel. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose 1.5 per cent.

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