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Traders on the New York Stock Exchange, June 28, 2012.

BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

North American stocks were mixed on Monday following a disappointing reading on U.S. retail sales but rebounding commodity prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,727.21, down 49.88 points or 0.4 per cent.

The broader S&P 500 closed at 1,353.64, down 3.14 points or 0.2 per cent – after recovering from a dip below 1,349 in earlier trading.

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In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,521.18, up 6.65 points or less than 0.1 per cent.

The moves follow a report from the Commerce Department showing another decline in U.S. retail sales.

Sales in June fell 0.5 per cent, well below the 0.2 per cent increase expected by economists.

It marked the third straight monthly decline in retail sales.

Some strategists took the weak retail sales report as a sign that the U.S. economy will continue to muddle through the year.

For example, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. expects U.S. economic growth of just 1.3 per cent in the third quarter, and then  slowing to 1 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global economic growth this year and next.

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For 2012, it now sees the global economy growing 3.5 per cent, down slightly from a 3.6 per cent estimate in April. For 2013, the IMF cut its growth estimate to 3.9 per cent from 4.1 per cent.

In Europe, stocks were also mixed, even as Spanish and Italian bond yield moved higher. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index rose 0.1 per cent.

The yield on Spain's 10-year government bond rose to 6.73 per cent, up about 16 basis points. There are 100 basis points in a percentage point.

Citigroup Inc. rose 0.6 per cent after it reported a 12 per cent decline in second quarter earnings, but nonetheless topped analysts' expectations.

Other key bank stocks moved lower: Bank of America Corp. fell 0.1 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 2.7 per cent, after a jump of nearly 6 per cent on Friday.

Canada's benchmark index was helped gains in the price of crude oil. It rose to $88.43 (U.S.) a barrel, up $1.33.

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Gold traded relatively flat on the day, ending in New York at $1,591.60 an ounce, down 40 cents.

Among key commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.1 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 0.2 per cent.

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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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