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At the open: U.S. financials are moving Add to ...

North American stock market indexes nudged higher on Wednesday morning, with investors embracing beaten-up U.S. financial stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points or 0.1 per cent, to 10,575. The broader S&P 500 rose 2 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1142.

American International Group Inc. continued to rise after a surge on Tuesday, this time gaining 8.2 per cent on an earlier report that it is unloading another unit for more than $15-billion in cash. Citigroup Inc., which has also been in the process of shedding divisions, rose 4.1 per cent.

However, these gains in financials were weighed down by a drop in some of the more defensive names in the Dow. Merck & Co. Inc. fell 0.4 per cent, continuing a decline by pharmaceutical firms. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell 0.4 per cent.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 34 points or 0.3 per cent, to 11,952.

Energy stocks were relatively flat, even after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2010 by 900,000 barrels a day, taking total demand to 85.24 million barrels a day. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.1 per cent.

Gold stocks also moved slightly higher, with Goldcorp Inc. up 0.6 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. up 0.4 per cent.

Financials were mixed, with Royal Bank of Canada down 0.2 per cent, but Toronto-Dominion Bank up 0.6 per cent.

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