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North American stocks were mixed at the start of trading on Wednesday, with U.S. indexes flat but Canada's benchmark index surging by triple digits following rebounding commodity prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14 points or 0.1 per cent, to 12,465. The broader S&P 500 rose 2 points or 0.1 per cent, to 1331. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 103 points or 0.8 per cent, to 13,544.

Dell Inc. rose 6.1 per cent after its first quarter earnings, reported on Tuesday evening, topped expectations and the computer maker raised its outlook for fiscal 2012. The gains strike a contrast to the disappointing outlook reported by Hewlett-Packard Co. earlier in the week. Its shares were hammered on Tuesday and fell another 1.3 per cent on Wednesday morning.

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Staples Inc. plunged 14 per cent after the office supplies retailer reported a 5 per cent gain in its quarterly earnings, missing expectations. The company also cut its full-year outlook.

Meanwhile commodity-related stocks rebounded after key commodities moved higher. Crude oil rose to $98.11 (U.S.) a barrel, up $1.20. Gold rose to $1492 an ounce, up $12.20. Among some of the key U.S. movers, Caterpillar Inc. rose 0.9 per cent and Exxon Mobil Corp. rose 0.7 per cent. In Canada, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.8 per cent, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 1.7 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.9 per cent.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. fell 0.4 per cent after Standard & Poor's lowered its credit rating on Tuesday evening, citing slower-than-expected deleveraging.

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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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