IBM casts pall on markets Stocks in Toronto made their way slightly into the green by midday, as gains in the financial and energy sectors helped offset weakness in gold mining shares, and investors tracked a move by the Bank of Canada to leave its main overnight rate unchanged. The S&P/TSX composite index moved forward 2.24 points to greet noon at 13,954.01 The Canadian dollar tumbled 0.83 cents , to 90.33 cents U.S., following the bank rate decision. Providing further support was BlackBerry, whose shares jumped 7.2% to $11.66 , a day after the smartphone maker said it planned to divest the majority of its Canadian real-estate holdings. The Toronto market, which has gained in six of the last seven trading sessions, is up about 2.6% this year. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.2%, with Royal Bank of Canada climbing 0.2% to $73.16 and Bank of Montreal rising 0.3% to $72.90 . Energy shares climbed 0.3%, with oil prices providing support. Suncor Energy Inc advanced 0.6% to $37.71 . But gold mining shares gave back ground as Barrick Gold declined 1.2% to $20.83 , and Goldcorp slipped 0.3% to $25.80 . On the Canadian economic calendar, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz announced the bank is leaving its overnight lending rate at 1%, where it's been since September 2010 . ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange gained 2.24 points to 981.01. Eight of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher, led by information technology stocks, up 1.8%, while real-estate stocks nicked up 0.3%, and energy gained 0.2%. The half-dozen laggards were weighed mostly by gold, down 1.2%, while metals and mining stocks lost 1.1% and materials, 0.9%. ON WALLSTREET Investors remained in a cautious mood Wednesday following another mixed batch of earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average weakened 36.25 points to pause for noon hour at 16,378.19, as a disappointing outlook from IBM weighed on the blue chip index. IBM shares declined more than 3%. The S&P 500 index improved 1.12 points, however, to 1,844.91. The NASDAQ gained 16.40 points to 4,242.16. Shares of Advanced Micro Devices tumbled after the company's guidance for the current quarter fell short of expectations. It's the latest bit of bad news for semiconductor stocks following last week's earnings from Intel and the news that Intel was planning to cut jobs this year. Coach shares also fell after the luxury retailer's earnings and sales came in below expectations. eBay and Netflix are on deck to report results after the closing bell. Overall, earnings are expected to be up 5.9% in the fourth quarter for the companies in the S&P 500, according to FactSet Research. On the bright side, BlackBerry shares surged again after the smartphone maker said it was unloading the majority of its Canadian real estate assets. Priceline shares continued to trade above $1,200 U.S. per share, after hitting the milestone for the first time Tuesday. Priceline has the highest stock price of any company in the S&P 500. Google is trailing it with a price of around $1,165 U.S. Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasuries were down, corresponding raising yields to 2.84% from Tuesday's 2.83%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices strengthened $1.59 to $96.56 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices shed $1.40 to $1,240.40 U.S. an ounce.
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